Last week, the tech universe exploded when Google announced they were killing their Reader app/site/utility, a tool that many power users had utilized to keep on top of the internet at large. I didn’t really care because I’d never used it and, in fact, keep a TweetDeck tab open to do the same thing. I got curious, though. I wondered what the big deal had been, but rather than try and start using Reader now, mere months before its dispersal, I’d try out some of the RSS feed competition. “What’s it like on the other side?” I wondered.
First off, for those unaware, you use a program like Google Reader to subscribe to RSS feeds, which are spinal information from a web site. When we publish an article, a link and its information gets linked in our RSS feed. You accumulate enough of these and you can, essentially, read the content of tons of web sites in its purest form without needing to visit each site individually. It saves a lot of time and is super convenient, so it makes sense that I never dove into this world.
Feedly is just one of many of these aggregators competing to replace Google Reader, but since it’s been getting proportionately more attention than the others, I figured I’d give it a shot. Signing into Feedly, which is done via your Google account, is incredibly fast. If you have any Google Reader subscriptions, you’ll move them right over. Adding new feeds is also intuitive and you can place these feeds into a number of different categories of your own design. After adding about fifteen of these, I got a pretty comprehensive view of the internet that I would normally have to open a number of sites in order for. In fact, it may be too convenient, I’m saving so much time not going to each site in order and sponging its content with my eyes, I can get Feedly to do the same thing. The mobile app is also very flashy, perhaps too flashy compared to the Chrome/web version.
Feedly has two big flaws that may or may not be unique to it, but otherwise would’ve kept me locked in, rather than searching for the next big thing. For one, unlike TweetDeck, which is really similar, just with tweets instead of RSS nuggets, there’s no auto-refresh option. I like the idea of having to do it manually, except not really at all. Secondly, even if you mark an article as read, upon a refresh, it resets, leaving you to reorient yourself among the newly-received items in your feeds.
Well, we’ll see how this goes. If you have suggestions or thoughts, leave ’em in the comments below, would ya?