If you are a mass consumer of information around the Internet, you have discovered the most efficient way to get all that information in a short amount of time is through a RSS Subscription. What is a RSS? I am not going to break it down, read up on it here.
If you use RSS extensively you need a central reader to manage and display those subscription content. At first it was browser based with Firefox, but as the world quickly became less dependent on a single machine and have many internet enable devices at their fingertips, storing all that information on a single computer became a problem. But there are many who like to have the desktop and there are many great locally installed RSS programs out there. I am not going to go into those, because I think it’s a dying breed. Instead I am going to focus on ‘cloud’ based readers, mainly through Google.
I am a Google fan. For the mobile worker or just a guy with many computers and devices, doing things in the cloud is very handy. I have embraced Google as my friend and try to use it as much as I can and where it makes the most sense. Side note – Google docs needs work, See Evernote post.
Through Google I subscribe to all my RSS feeds. Then they are central and I can get at them from my work laptop, home desktop, netbook, iPhones, etc… But, as Google tends to do, they provide a great cloud based service and a rotten UI to go with it. But with their open APIs, talented folks take that service and make it better.
Enter Feedly. http://www.feedly.com/
Feedly is a Chrome only extension. If you embrace Google, you are using Chrome as your primary browser. The Feedly website just has a link to install the Chrome extension. That’s it.
What Feedly does, is makes a Chrome webpage locally based off your Google Reader Subscriptions and displays it like a magazine.
On the left menu you have the Cover page, Digest which is just your RSS feeds, Buzz to display buzz, your feed categories and a few other history and shared links. The nice thing about Feedly is that it integrates non-RSS information from Buzz and even your Twitter account (on the right side). This layout and how the feeds get displayed alone is a far improvement and easier to use than the default Google Reader which I find to be clunky and over filled with large ads.
On the cover and using the popular, Feedly will display feeds that you are not currently subscribed to but are popular with other people. This makes finding new feeds easier or finding those jewel websites you never heard of.
Feedly provides the full functionality of use of a story that Reader does. You can flag as you like it, share it to your other Reader Friends, or share it out to Twitter, Facebook, Buzz, etc….
If you are not in the mood for the magazine style and all the images loaded and such, the At A Glance link will take you to a summary of all your feeds that have unread items.
Long story short, Feedly is a great visual and functional improvement from Google Reader. I have Feedly installed on all computer I control and use it heavily now. Is it a replacement for other readers? No. Like any RSS reader if they can access Google, they can aggregate my subscriptions like any other service. But right now, Feedly is the best and easiest to use.
As I was looking for something else I did come across another Chrome based reader called FeedSquares.
Same concept, creates a webpage in Chrome from your Reader subscriptions but instead of a magazine style it displays in a hip, quirky graphical based layout. I played around with it for about 20 min. The stories were hard to read, the animations were clunky, somethings were not getting marked as read properly and I moved on. FeedSquares is a fun, niche toy, nothing more for the serious RSS user and consumer.
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The items in this post are purely the thoughts and opinions of the author. All facts and data are gathered across various sources and the author’s conclusions are based that information. Techie Pro
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.