Feedly: A New Face For Google Reader
Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on October 7th, 2008
I’ve been using Google Reader for a long time, and I didn’t think anything could top it. But then I found Feedly. Feedly is a Firefox 3 extension that gives your Google Reader feeds a much needed facelift. It does a lot more too.
Getting Started With Feedly
When you first start Feedly, you get the chance to import feed settings such as folders or labels from My Yahoo, Bloglines, Netvibes and Firefox Bookmarks. You can also link Feedly to your networks on Friendfeed, Twitter, Yahoo and Gmail.
Feedly synchronizes with Google Reader to provide a magazine interface for your feeds. You can then access these using a variety of interfaces which appear as a top menu:
- the cover page shows a selection of posts from your favorite blogs with images
- the ‘what’s new’ page shows blogs with new posts in a similar way
- the ‘river’ lists posts in date order, with the most recent first
- you can view your feeds by folder or label
- or you can visit the dashboard, which lists all your feeds and visit each one separately
One of the things I like about Feedly is that you never have to leave the interface to read feeds. Full feeds are shown as normal, while you can use a preview window (like a mini browser) to see the full version of partial feeds. With some feeds, you can even comment without leaving the Feedly interface. You can also see others’ comments when reading the post.
Options When Reading
When you read a post, Feedly provides a number of options. You can recommend it (which is like sharing it in Reader), annotate it (sharing with a comment), save it for later (starring it), email it, add it to delicious or send it to your Twitter or Friendfeed networks. Sure, it would be nice if other networks were available, but with these are two of the most important.
The sidebar is also important. Depending on the interface you are looking at, it shows:
- Top readers of the blog or section plus new sources to explore
- sources for the current view
- people you are following from your social networks (for some reason this works well with Friendfeed, but not so well with Twitter for me)
There’s also a view called ‘the wall’. This shows what your social network pals have been recommending or annotating recently.
Adding new feeds is also simple. When you get to a feed enabled page, there’s a small f in your address bar. Click it and you go through the usual feed addition process. You can choose to make feedly your default reader, and you can relax, knowing that the feed will automatically be added Google Reader too.
Feedly also makes feed management easy. It’s got a ’spring cleaning’ interface, which colour codes your feeds and shows how many posts you have read and recommended. Those highlighted in green are feeds you do a lot with; those in pink might as well not be there. I’ve used that interface a couple of times to clean up my feeds.
There are two more features worth mentioning. The first is that Google search is integrated, making it easy to search your feeds. The is that you can change the preferences for width, which view appears when you start it up (via the big RSS button in your toolbar) and more.
Feedly is still in beta, which means that occasionally it falls over, but it’s not usually for long. It also updates itself often, which can be annoying. However, the developers say that patches will happen only once a month when the beta ends.
I have been using Feedly for a couple of months now, and I can’t imagine managing my feeds any other way. This is an efficient and attractive RSS feed management tool. If you are using Google Reader, I recommend that you give it a try.
Sharon Hurley Hall
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