David Pogue praises Feedly

by on May 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

Here is part of his analysis:

The one everybody keeps saying is the natural heir to Google Reader, though, is Feedly.com. In fact, Feedly says the ranks of its four million users have swelled to seven million since Google’s Reader death sentence was announced.

It requires a free plug-in for the Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers. Three factors in particular make it useful.

First, the biggie: Simply logging into Feedly with your Google name and password instantly re-creates your Google Reader setup. All of your news sources, favorites and tags — category names that you can apply to certain articles, for ease in rounding them up later — magically show up in Feedly, ready to use. The synchronization is two-way; until July 1, you can bounce between Reader and Feedly to your heart’s content, and your newsreader worlds will look identical.

I plan to try a switch soon.

jg May 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm

the switchover is indeed very easy and it works pretty much the same as google reader. and it certainly looks prettier than google reader. there is, however, one very big drawback: it lacks a proper search function. you can’t, as you could in google reader, search the old content of the feeds you’re following. which is something I did a lot.

Justin Bassett May 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I switched to Feedly earlier this week when Reader was having a few bugs. The desktop experience is great, customizable, and actually better than Reader. The Android app was a bit behind though. It was a little more difficult to pick and choose which stories to read

Sturdivant May 12, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I moved to http://eldonreader.com. They have a great Desktop. Simple and beautiful. you’ll certainly love it!

mb May 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

My one complaint about Feedly, they update too aggressively – as such the updates have tended to be buggy. They need to slow down and get it right.

Adam May 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I switched earlier this week as well, and I agree that Feedly is better than Reader. You can customize it to look and behave very much like Reader does, but with a prettier front end. Fingers crossed that the transition goes OK.

David J May 10, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I switched to Newsblur because I didn’t like the plugin requirement from Feedly. I like that it lets you “train” it to determine what stories are likely more interesting to you based on feed, author, tags, and words in the subject line.

Jay May 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Also liking Newsblur. Seamless transition from Google Reader with the import function. Also no plugin is essential if one works for an employer that locks down the desktop image one uses.

Karl May 19, 2013 at 8:08 am

Newsblur is great and continues the minimalist feel. Feedly also still uses Google Reader for it’s backend.

Reeshard May 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm

One significant feature lost in switch from Google Reader to Feedly is that of a search engine for your RSS feeds. With GR, I could search all of my subscriptions for a given subject/keyword, even if it had appeared in its respective blog prior to my having subscribed.

If I’ve overlooked a ‘search’ tool in the Feedly set-up, I’d greatly appreciate helpful input from longtime Feedly users.

Also – and this may relate to my using Safari as default browser – Feedly tends to ‘loop’ the last few new posts in ever shrinking amounts (as in: ‘You have 5 unread posts’ all of which have appeared previously, then ‘You have 4 unread…’ etc. until none remain).

Aaron W May 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I’ve used Feedly since the day of the announcement that Google was discontinuing Reader. The lack of search is a bit disappointing, but it works great otherwise.

Reeshard May 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm

One other curious aspect of Feedly: Were I to click on an image within a Google Reader blog entry, I’d see that image at its intended size in a new browser window. The Old Reader, another RSS aggregator that I’ve tried, works the same way. However, an image clicked in Feedly yields a window demanding that I sign on with Pinterest. A curious thing.

By the way, don’t bother with The Old Reader. Feedly is clearly superior, despite my above reservations. Prompted by Pogue’s assessment, I just went back to compare TOR vs Feedly. The Old Reader announced that it was down for unspecified reasons and offered a series of cat pictures by way of compensation. The Old Reader returned after a few minutes, only to tell me that I had 10,600 unread posts…being in all likelihood everything I’d ever viewed with Google Reader.

OK, Feedly wins.

Hillary May 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm

There’s a setting in the preferences to turn this off – I don’t recall exactly where, but they mentioned it on the blog.

George May 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Agree that the switchover is very easy. And because it’s no-muss-no-fuss, i’d recommend that everyone do it — whether or not you plan to use Feedly long tern — just to have an instantly usable backup of your google feeds. my particular nit to pick with Feedly is that I really like the 2-frame UI of the G-reader, where you can scroll through your feed list on the left and with a click see the list of stories on the right for any given feed. either Feedly can’t do this yet or I’m not clever enough to figure it out. if anyone is clever enough, i’d love some advice…

Robert May 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Yep, this is why I don’t like feedly. It’s just too difficult to rapidly search your list of feeds.

I really don’t understand why everyone is drooling over feedly, google reader did a simple thing very very well, feedly does a simple thing in a complicated way and makes it less useful as a result. Yes, it’s prettier, but so what? I don’t want pretty, I want functional.

Could someone please tell me what is so good about feedly?

jb May 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm

well, what I like about Feedly:

1) The look, feel and function work consistently on my browser, phone (android) and my iPad
2) If I want to add a new blog or feed, I can start typing a name, and if it already has it, it will add it
3) I can indicate which blogs are my favorite, and they bubble up to the top of the list
4) marking all as read is very easy.
5) I really like that most blog posts are displayed inline, so I don’t have to open a new tab for each thing I want to read, but, once opened, if I click on the title again, it does open a new window
6) I like the magazine view (appropriate for some of my feeds) vs the full-post view, vs the title-only view. some of the things I read are better suited for these different presentation options.
7) I like that when I click on the number next to the sub-folder, it marks everything read in that subfolder

Is it the best piece of software ever written? No. But it does its job, it looks nice and it is fast. I’m not sure why you accuse us of ‘drooling’ over Feedly – what I’m primarily pleased about is that it was such a smooth transition – usually when the 800-lb gorilla exits the market, there’s a lot of disruption and half-baked solutions.

I used Bloglines before, and I struggled for a couple of days with the ‘quirks’ of Feedly, but that would be true of anything that doesn’t attempt to be an exact clone of Google Reader.

Ryan May 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Tyler, if you can trust any random commentator on your blog, it would be me. After you first raised this topic, the survey said Feedly was the way to go. I made the switch and agree with those surveyed.

John B. Chilton May 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Done. 3 clicks. 20 seconds. Thanks.

Leon May 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I think Feedly still relies on Google Reader for it’s back end. So it may be great, but you haven’t actually stopped using Google Reader. They are developing a new backend that should be ready before Google reader goes offline. But we don’t know how well it’ll work.

Newsblur doesn’t rely on Google reader at all.

Mike May 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Feedly did have a search function, but it was inefficient / resource intensive at scale so they were forced to disable it when the flood of former google reader customers switched over. They have promised to restore the functionality as part of a ‘feedly pro’ offering TBD

https://twitter.com/feedly/status/318762666724323329

Peter May 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Can’t say I’m a huge fan of Feedly in a browser (though I use it) but I love their Android app. Feedly on a touch screen is everything a RRS reader should be.

JVM May 11, 2013 at 11:06 am

As a subway rider though I find myself annoyed that it doesn’t work offline, like most google reader apps do.

William Gadea May 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm

I love Feedly. Beautiful design. And yes the transition was very smooth.

I think Google is foolish to abandon RSS… a smart RSS reader that learns your preferences and finds content for you, instead of just bringing it to you — integrating social… that could be very, very powerful.

Ben May 10, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I hate new things and being forced to change my habits, but this once it wasn’t so bad.

I really am glad that I switched to feedly. The mobile experience is head and shoulders above reader, at least for the way I browse.

sara May 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I like Feedly quite a lot, but I’m pretty worried about what will happen when Reader goes down. Feedly claims they’ll be switching over to hosting feeds themselves, but it doesn’t seem like they’ll be testing this switchover on a large scale until Reader shuts down. Seems like there is a lot of room for error there, and it’s impossible to tell whether it’s really going to work properly or not until after Reader is no longer an option to fall back on for a while while finding something new. This is a big bummer to me…I wish they would just switch everything over now and iron out the bugs so we can see how well it will really work.

yang May 10, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Feedly is much slower to navigate than Google Reader. It wastes far too much screen real estate with lame attempts at pretty design fluff and is designed to take up most of the screen on a normal sized laptop.
It is a mix between the magazine flipboard style and the minimalist Reader style and errs in being too magazine like.

It will do as an alternative until something better comes along.

Anon. May 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm

I don’t like Feedly at all. I find the interface unsuitable and it’s pretty slow all around. I’m using RSSOwl which is the closest substitute for Reader I’ve found.

Phil May 10, 2013 at 7:59 pm

I don’t understand how anyone with more than 4 or 5 RSS feeds could use Feedly.
There is no way to get the basic Reader interface: A list of your feeds on the left, and a list of all the unread posts in the current feed on the right.
You can either get a single gigantic list of all the thousands of unread posts in all your feeds, mingled together; or you can choose one of the other views, which waste 90% of the page space with previews. There is no way to get a list of what feeds you’re subscribed to! By default you get a list of something like 15 of your feeds, chosen at random as far as I can tell.

If you wade in anyway and try to find what you want by scrolling through the “all feeds” list, it doesn’t let you! It looks like you have to mark the first 60 or so as read before it will let you see the next batch. Utterly unusable if you have more than a couple dozen unread posts. I have 3000 currently. It would take me about an hour just to find a specific post in Feedly.

It is nothing like Google Reader, not the tiniest bit, and you can’t configure it to look like Reader. It’s designed by graphic artists, for graphic artists. Not for people who like getting things done.

Matthew Ernest May 11, 2013 at 7:49 pm

This is a factually incorrect description of Feedly.

The list on the left exactly the same list of feeds and sets of feeds, with the addition of an “All” set. If you do want want the All set, do not select the all set; it will collapse like set does in Google Reader. If viewed in a narrow browser window this list fill be collapsed and will pop-up when you hover of the icon of three horizontal lines. The icons above the list or articles control the display like setting that for Google Reader, with the addition of two more views.

mw May 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Sadly, the ‘n’ and ‘p’ keyboard title-scrolling marks articles as “read” even though you clearly didn’t read them, because you didn’t open them. That’s a killer.

Tom Braun May 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Feedly isn’t Google Reader, but it’s getting better all the time. Right now it connects directly to the Google Reader back-end but Feedly is developing its own independent back end called Normandy, which they will switch to (theoretically) seamlessly on July 1st. At the moment this will make Feedly the only RSS reader which, like Google Reader, can be synched across many computers and devices.

Feedly gives you a lot of layout options. The defaults are ‘prettier’ than Reader, but also less informative. Be sure to play around with the layout settings and see what feels best to you.

I’m interested to see what Digg is doing in this arena but for right now Feedly is the RSS reader to beat.

ncd May 12, 2013 at 8:15 am

Since we’re labeling stuff “factually inaccurate,” I’ve got an issue with this:

“At the moment this will make Feedly the only RSS reader which, like Google Reader, can be synched across many computers and devices.”

This may have been true at some other moment, but at this moment The Old Reader does precisely this, and without trying feebly to “manage” what you see.

S.K. May 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm

One important thing to note: Feedly does not currently let you export your OPML, thus “locking” you in once you make the switch. This reminds me of a few other companies I’ve stopped dealing with. No thanks.

rose May 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm

It’s actually very good, and the developers are very responsive to user requests.

The reason I switched was for the mobile app, which currently has huge bugs, though.

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