Plex Gets iOS 7 Update
My Must-Have iPad Apps, 2013 Edition
Reeder 2.1 Released with Themes, Reading List Support, Fixes
Tweetbot 3.2 Brings Night Theme, Account Reordering and Quick Switching
I’ve been keeping an eye on Feedly since they unveiled their Pro plan earlier this year (I bought a $99 lifetime membership). Their newest additions to the web app are interesting: Popular is an algorithm that detects articles with “engagement” in the Feedly community, and Custom Sharing lets you add your own sharing URL for links.
Here’s how they describe Popular:
Thanks to the engagement and sharing behavior from the community, we are getting a very clear signal of which articles are the most popular within each feed. We added a “Popular” section at the top of each feeds to make sure that you do not miss those articles. If you prefer a chronological view only, this feature can be turned off in the preferences via Preferences > General > Popular.
I just turned on the feature in my account. The first impression is good as it does seem to be recommending articles about popular topics.
Custom Sharing is pretty neat in that it lets you set up a URL to send links to using placeholders for an article’s title and link. I have set up a custom service to bring up the Pinboard add interface, but I’d like to see an option to set up multiple custom sharing services at once (right now, you can only add one, and it doesn’t get a custom icon but a generic envelope one). The feature is reminiscent of Mr. Reader’s custom sharing menu, but for websites, and I think that it is a good addition.
And so, could this hypothetical service take all that information, put it into a database, and then find and recommend things for me to read? I think yes. That’d be the easy part. The hard part is if the service could pick out articles for me as well as Pandora can at pick out songs, or as well as Netflix can pick out 4-star movies. Now, wouldn’t that be something?
The next step is discovery of relevant and personalized news in an RSS-based environment. No one seems to be doing that quite right at this point and there are a lot of services and technologies that may be using RSS in the backend but that are trying different proprietary approaches. Flipboard with magazines and top stories; Zite with algorithms; Feedly with popular feeds; others with lightweight Twitter and Facebook integrations.
My primary concern is that a feature such as the one envisioned by Shawn – which I'd love, by the way – would require a tremendous amount of scale, data, analysis, time, and, ultimately, resources, which I'm not sure an independently developed feed reader could ever have (or pull off properly). But, yes, that sort of news recommendation inside a feed reader would be fantastic.
If you’ve settled on Digg as your feed reader of choice, you’ll like the latest batch of updates for the iOS apps, which brings the web’s clients Popular view to your iPhone and iPad. Throughout the app, you’ll also find new ways to filter out read and unread items, thanks to a toggle that slides in and out of view as you browse around. You’ll also find a static toggle in the settings that’ll let you view only the unread stuff. Other notable features include better scrolling and the ability to delete feeds and folders.
You can download Digg for free from the App Store.
RSS service Feedly, one of the most popular alternatives to Google Reader that quickly hit 12 million users after the shutdown of Google’s service, has today started rolling out a Pro version that, starting at $5 per month, will enable search, Evernote integration, HTTPS navigation, and premium support for users. However, there’s a catch: Feedly Pro’s regular $5/month subscription ($45 annually) will be available publicly for everyone this Fall; today, the company has launched a $99 Feedly Pro lifetime membership that will unlock the Pro features, forever, for the first 5000 users.
As a daily Evernote user and fan of RSS apps that implement full article search, I was curious to try out the initial feature set of Feedly Pro, so I purchased the lifetime membership this morning. My first impression is that, overall, the Pro features will add value to the service for power users, but they will need several improvements and refinements. Feedly says that, in the future, Pro users will be able to directly vote for the features they want to see in the service. (more…)
Anyone who has been subscribing to RSS feeds for longer than a few months will know your subscription list regularly needs pruning and adjusting. Well, I want my RSS reader to help me with that task. Smart Streams can help by making it easier to wrangle my feeds based on more than just which website they came from. I expect in the long run that they will prove very accommodating and useful as my interests change and as my attention ebbs and flows.
A good overview of Feed Wrangler's best feature. I've been using Feed Wrangler since April and I'm very happy with it.
As I noted yesterday with Mr. Reader’s update, the upcoming shutdown of Google Reader has resulted in a fast uptake of third-party RSS services by existing clients for iOS and OS X, leading to a more variegate, rich ecosystem of apps that sync to different web services that aim at replacing Google Reader. Among the new contenders for the RSS throne there’s David Smith’s Feed Wrangler, which has become my favorite alternative to Google Reader and that, after Mr. Reader and the upcoming Reeder for iPhone update, is now supported by Slow Feeds and ReadKit. (more…)
With Google Reader shutting down in less than a week, developers of RSS clients for iOS and OS X are rushing to get updates approved by Apple and let App Store customers continue using their apps with other RSS services. In the past two weeks, details have emerged on a variety of new RSS platforms that are launching on the brink of Reader’s demise, such as Feedly, Digg Reader, and AOL Reader; I’ve already covered Feed Wrangler, the service I’m currently using, and Reeder’s update with support for Feedbin. It’s not clear if one service will stand out as a “winner” in a post-Google Reader world; for now, what’s apparent is that most third-party developers are deciding to support various Google Reader alternatives rather than picking a single service (as it happened with Google Reader in the past three years). Today, my favorite Google Reader app for iPad, Mr. Reader, has been updated to support six new RSS services, with a version 2.0 that doesn’t add new sharing or reading functionalities, but that ensures the app will continue working after July 1. (more…)
Soon after Google announced they would shut down their RSS platform Reader this July, Feedly confirmed they would build an API clone — codenamed Normandy — to ease the transition from Reader to Feedly for users and third-party developers. Essentially, this meant Feedly had been working on its own RSS syncing service with support for third-party clients to complement its own set of native apps.
In a blog post published today, Feedly has announced that they have been working with developer partners over the past two months to ensure the feedly API, based on the Normandy project, could launch with an ecosystem of native third-party apps. And among the apps that will support Feedly before July 1 (when Google will shut down Reader) there’s Silvio Rizzi’s Reeder, one of my favorite RSS apps for the iPhone and iPad.
We are also hearing from users that saving their feeds is not enough: One of the key features of Google Reader was that they had an ecosystem of apps – apps that people love and depend upon.
We have been working behind the curtains with the developers of Reeder,Press, Nextgen Reader, Newsify and gReader as design partners for our Normandy project. Today we are excited to announce that you will be able to access your feedly from all these apps before Google Reader retires and that the access to feedly API will be free. More details soon.
I have reached out to Rizzi, who confirmed Feedly support will indeed be added to the next versions of Reeder. His client, which was updated last April on the iPhone to support Feedbin sync and local RSS feeds, will also be updated for Feedly integration. While a precise release timeframe isn’t clear yet, it’s safe to assume Feedly integration will first come to the iPhone and then to Reeder for Mac and iPad (Rizzi made Reeder for iPad and Mac free while he’s working on a major 2.0 update).
In the next “few weeks”, an official API will be released to let third-party developers create Feed Wrangler clients, and I think that will be a key aspect for scaling the service’s adoption rate to accommodate different kinds of users and applications. While the platform is solid and reliable, it lacks the beautiful interface polish of Google Reader apps like Reeder, or the power-user functionality of Mr. Reader’s services menu. The official website and apps should serve as an example of what Feed Wrangler can do, but it’ll be up to third-party clients to prove Feed Wrangler’s flexibility.
Again, as with Feedly integration, Rizzi can’t provide a specific release date today. Feed Wrangler, which has become my favorite Google Reader replacement, comes with a series of unique implementations of the decade-old concept of syncing and reading feeds, and it’ll be interesting to see how Reeder will take advantage of it in its custom interface.