I had the opportunity to try out Feedly over the weekend. I’ve been a die-hard Google Reader guy for a long time and I have attempted to use quite a few other RSS readers, but never found one that was as simple, as well laid out, and as catered to my specific needs as Google Reader. GReader made it super simple to add new feeds, to organize those feeds, and most importantly, to read those feeds.
Feedly’s first great idea, was to simply sync itself with GReader. This meant, no exporting and OPML file, then importing it too Feedly. This very thing made it nearly impossible to use any other RSS reader because as soon as you make a change (add/delete a feed) then your OPML file didn’t match up with one from the other reader. With Feedly, all you have to do it load it into Firefox and open it. Feedly does the rest. It takes all your folders and displays them along the top of the Feedly page. Then (as shown below) it pulls the title, first few lines, and an image from the actual article and displays it nice and pretty like. See…
Not only do they sync your feeds, but they kept the simplicity of sharing, starring, and marking posts as read from GReader. With Feedly, you get a little thumbs up icon to share a post, a + sign to save for later (a.k.a star), and an X icon to mark an item as read and hide it. And, like magic, when you go back to Google Reader (if you go back to Google Reader) your items are just as they are supposed to be…synced. I have encountered a couple problems with marking things as read, then refreshing the page, and they pop back up. That can be annoying, especially if you have a lot of feeds. But, I have a moderate amount of feeds so it is manageable and I am sure they are working to fix it. I will be reporting the issue to them and perhaps some Feedly employee will happen across this post.
So far you are saying, “OK, it does everything just like Google Reader. Why would I switch now? Is having things laid out like a magazine really that exciting?” No, the layout, at least for me, isn’t that exciting (or important), and thankfully you can change your view of the page. I like to just have the title of the post so that I can skim a lot of posts at once. As I scroll down my Feedly page I simply mark the posts with an X that I’m not going to read and get them out of site so I can focus on the posts I DO want to read/share/star.
So what got you Rob? Why did you make the leap away from Google Reader?
I’ve been using Twitter quite a bit lately, as you might be able to tell from some of my other posts. And, I’ve noticed in Twitter that a good way to share with other Tweople is to let them know about various articles and blog posts that your followers might share an interest in. It can get quite time consuming to be constantly copying links, shortening them, typing out post titles and then Tweeting them. Some super genius at Feedly came up with the idea to have a simple link. When you click the link, a Twitter window drops down with the title of the article and the shortened link already in it. All you have to do is post it from right there. You don’t have to switch over to Twitter for anything. Although, you probably will just to see if anyone has retweeted the link or replied to you. But, you certainly don’t have to do that.
There are quite a few other features that I haven’t even begun to touch yet. And, I’m sure more will be added down the road. I’d like to see and “Add to Facebook” link and maybe some skinning options. Regardless, it’s an exciting add-on for Firefox. So, it you use Firefox, and Google Reader, and Twitter, then I would recommend it. If you don’t use those three things, then you should be. Or, tell me in the comments what you use and why you like it so much. I’m always open to trying to things.