Looks like they will be collecting anonymous usage data, but you’ll be able to turn that off and work in a standalone mode if you want to.
I love NetNewsWire on the Mac and was a huge proponent of FeedDemon on Windows before I switched over to the Mac platform. I think they are simply the best two RSS readers on the market. And the nice thing is, they have an online service that you can hit via a browser to get your feeds and it synchronizes everywhere. So, if I open NetNewsWIre at work and read stuff, then read some stuff on my Blackberry, then read some stuff on my iPhone, then go home and work on a windows machine with FeedDemon, the feeds and unread/read statuses sync between them all.
I’ve been using this for awhile and can wholeheartedly recommend it. This is certainly a kick in the teeth to google reader in my opinion.
For all you folks that didn’t want to pay for a good client before, you can now grab one (or many) for free. I highly recommend that you do!!!