With the wide availability of RSS feed for tons of website, such as Blogs, News, Forums etc, tracking the latest news for particular topic couldn’t be more easier. Since the wide coverage, a lot of software/services like Windows Live Mail, Google Reader etc. offer the RSS feed subscription function, putting all subscribed feeds from the concerned website under one place to ease the reading. For me, I have been using Google Reader for quite sometime and I must say it is a good web service by Google and serve its purpose very well for me (except the long-time-requested theme customization like in Gmail which Google still failed to deliver). Though if you really bored of the Google Reader classic theme, and you are on Firefox, you can always install the Google Redesigned theme from GlobexDesigns.com (Firefox Plug-in) to change the interface and it certainly breathe new life into Google Reader (Check screenshot below).
Google Reader Classic Theme
Google Reader with Google Redesigned Theme
However, if you ever thought of a cleaner and more interactive RSS web reader, I would like to recommend you Feedly (though it only works on my Firefox and Chrome, IE is out of luck). Like Google Reader, Feedly is a web service that organize your subscribed RSS feed, however, in a more interesting and fun way. Those feeds has been organized in such a way that you are viewing them in a magazine-like structure. It has all the features you can find in a conventional magazine – Cover section, Featured section etc. And more importantly is that the experience of feeds reading has been greatly enhanced by the interface – you could probably now read more news than in Google Reader due to the more lively interface.
Interface of Feedly. Saw the featured section? Can’t help but it make me feel to click on it even though it doesn’t interest me.
Sharing is simple with Feedly
Besides the interactive interface, sharing become easier in Feedly. You can easily share any interesting links or news to Twitter or Facebook by just a click (notice the familiar icons at below screenshot?). You can also save certain feeds for review purpose (something similar to starred feature in Google Reader). Well, to be fair, Feedly has no extra functions if compared to Google Reader (at least from what I see), since they have claimed that Feedly is based on Google Reader and Twitter (Yes, they had Twitter integrated in Feedly too), but I must praise the developer for the idea in Feedly – organizing the subscribed feeds in a better way.
Sidebar options for a feed.
Killing feature – Preview
Turning the focus to the readability, Feedly has a killing feature – Preview. In Google Reader, whenever you want to further review an interesting article, you must open it in a new tab; but in Feedly, you can just click on Preview and the whole website will be shown in the same tab that has Feedly loaded, so now I can quickly reading any news/articles without scrolling through ton of tabs.
Article loaded without opening a new tab. Job done.
Interface modes in Feedly
In Feedly, there are three modes available for different approach in interface, namely cover, digest and latest. Cover mode includes some popular headlines (based on the recommendations by other user), as well as some ‘must reads’ posts (though I am not sure how they pin those as must reads). Whereas Digest mode has a lesser number a featured posts, but it covered some latest news from your organized feeds (The mode that I like the most). In Latest mode, as it’s name suggested, Feedly will show a list of latest updates from all the subscribed websites.
If you have no idea what to read next, there is a Popular tab in Feedly to feed you with some popular and latest news, covering wide range of topics. It is certainly a good chance for Feedly user to explore some other parts of the internet rather than focused on the preferred parts.
Certainly there are still quite some features in Feedly that enhance the user experience which I am not able to cover all, but I believe the features I had mentioned for Feedly are some strong points on the reason to jump from Google Reader to Feedly.
How to use Feedly?
If you are using Firefox or Chrome, head to www.feedly.com and install the plug-in shown (Feedly will automatically detect your browser, though it shows me Firefox plug-in when I loaded the site with IE), and start using right away. Don’t worry about the subscription, in Feedly, a Google account login is needed and thus all the feed subscriptions in Google Reader will be automatically appears in Feedly. Enjoy Feedly and enjoy reading again!