How I broke Google Reader (and Bloglines too)

Quick answer: I imported too many feeds into Google Reader

Long answer: Well I found an old OPML file. I think it may have been something that combined a load of my old feeds with what Robert Scoble was reading at the time, so I suspect it was from 2005 or so. I then noticed a couple of others such files, so I thought it might be fun (note to reader: I have an interesting definition of fun on a personal level, please do not try to apply your own or indeed any dictionary definition of the word here) to put them all together, see what was going on, who was still blogging, if I was missing out on any good feeds.

To begin with, I didn’t want to mess up my reading list, so I thought I’d import them all into Bloglines. Approximately 1400 feeds later, Bloglines was not happy. It was taking an age to load, just didn’t seem to be coping. However I could export from it, so I assumed that Google Reader would be able to cope.

And it didn’t. Page errors all over, massive loading times, and something of a pain to undo too. What I found through trial and error was that it was still flaky with about 800 or 900 feeds, and then once you slipped under that number it was fine, just as good as if you only had a couple. So worth noting if you are an obsessive feed reader like myself that if you’re really stacking up the number you read, it may be worth a prune sometime.