Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Feedly Makes Google Reader all Shiny

I'm an information addict. I follow about 800 online information sources at the moment. This would be an impossible task without RSS feeds. If you don't know what RSS feeds are or how they work, please skip to the end of this post and take a moment to watch "RSS In Plain English," a short and informative video by the geniuses at Common Craft:
Feedly is to a standard RSS feed reader as an iPhone is to a typical cell phone. It takes your boring Google Reader page and turns it into a luscious, customizable feast-for-the-eyes delight. It's a free Firefox plugin that can work with your existing Google Reader account, import an opml file or just be used for ad-hoc feed collection. Let's take a look:

First, here's a standard Google Reader page:

Google Reader Screen Shot

And here's the main section of my feedly home page:

feedly home

Feedly offers a variety of unique views that can be assigned to each feed grouping. For instance, the"river" setting below includes a paragraph from each feed alongside a thumbnail.

feedly river view

I've put my photo-centric feeds into a separate folder that uses a thumbnail-only view:

feedly images

Other views include headlines only and full inline articles. When you see a post that looks interesting, you can "drill down" and expand it within the view and then minimize it when you're done with just a click. You can share, tweet, email, annotate or otherwise act upon the item from a contextual menu bar.

feedly features

There are many other well-done features including a "spring cleaning" page that shows you which feeds you seldom read and a list of other users with similar recommendations.

So give it a try and let me know what you think. I've tried practically every RSS reader in existence and still check out new offerings, but I keep coming back to Feedly. Must be true love.

Here's that great video I mentioned in the introduction:

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