Sunday 24 March 2013

Feedly as a Reader replacement

Last week I blogged about the move by Google to ditch Google Reader. I explained how I was looking for an alternative, and I was trialling Feedly, both on a desktop computer and on my Android phone. One of the reasons I chose Feedly was because it works as an extension through Chrome, whereas some of the other readers I looked at either charged a fee for a certain number of subscriptions, or others required you to download software and run the feeder through your machine. I access RSS readers on various machines, as well as my phone, so I needed something that worked across several platforms. In addition, Feedly allows you to log in to your Google Reader account so all of your subscriptions are already there, waiting for you to browse. I subscribe to over 200 blogs so any service which doesn't allow me to import those (Skimr had real problems with that) is already onto a losing wicket.

At first, I hated it. Feedly seems to prefer to display content by the date posted, assuming that you come back and read all of your outstanding posts on a daily basis. I prefer Google Reader's layout, letting you scroll by title and then browsing the titles of unread posts within each blog. I don't always get the chance to read every day, so a time-orientated layout is never going to suit me.

However, I decided to persevere, and I spent a little time during the week tinkering with my settings through the desktop version (these changes sync with the app version so whatever I do on my computer is reflected on my phone). I've set up categories, and dragged each blog I subscribe to into one of them, meaning I can quickly browse just those blogs related to writing, or history, or design etc., depending on what I want to read at the time. Even better, I could never read those blogs I subscribe to through Blogger in the Reader on my phone, but Feedly makes it easier to add them to my existing categories, meaning I can now read them on my phone too. Just this one little change has really affected how much I use Feedly.

I now find myself checking Feedly more often, and reading more posts that I did. Its inclusion of thumbnails with each post title makes it far more visually appealing than Google Reader ever was, and while nothing can top Google Reader for raw efficiency, Feedly is certainly impressing me enough that I have no real need to try any of the other readers.

Has anyone else given Feedly a go?


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