Adobe enters feed reader race

My coworker Jeremiah Owyang says he’s not switching from Google Reader until at least a few other people in his trusted network switch too. In reaction to news that Adobe has entered the feed reader race with “myFeedz”. I briefly checked out the Adobe Reader. It’s missing three things that I find addictive about Google’s Reader: well-thought-out keyboard commands, “read-all-feed-items-at-once in a ‘River of News’” and ability to share feed items with others. If your feed reader has those three things, then I want to hear about it and try it out and see how it compares with Google’s Reader.

By the way, I’m using Google Reader right now to build my link blog. If you haven’t checked out my link blog, I think you’ll find it unique. I go through 541 feeds. In the last month I’ve read 21,991 items and shared 1,169 items. You’ll find that it’s totally different from Digg (cause the only one voting here is me, so you get to see what interested me in the feeds) and TechMeme (which only shows you the most popular stuff — I pick technology items. Really I’m doing this for programmers like Chris Messina and Dori Smith, and busy executives, like my boss who don’t have time to dig through thousands of items trying to find what’s good to read).

How do I do my link blog? I set Google Reader to automatically open in the “All Items” view. That’s the “River of News” view. Then I use the keyboard commands to go through my feed items one-by-one. “J” key goes forward. “K” key goes back. “Shift-S” shares an item.

I wish there were a directory of other people’s Link Blogs. Anyone want to start one on a Wiki?

UPDATE: ironically enough, today Google’s servers are misbehaving and aren’t accepting my shared items. Will try again later.

78 thoughts on “Adobe enters feed reader race

  1. I wouldn’t normally plug our product in such a blatant way, but, you did ask…

    FeedGhost is a feed reader for Vista & XP – we’re a synchronizing client application versus Google Reader’s or myFeedz’ web-app. We offer:

    * Single-key reading (although we present the articles in “chunks”, which we may change that, since so many people prefer the Google method);
    * Tagging of articles and web-pages, with comments, for later reading;
    * Publishing of tagged articles on a link blog, webpage, or embeddable gadget;
    * Instant search of all the articles you’ve ever read;
    * Management of “problem” subscriptions – ones that haven’t been posted to lately, or don’t update, etc.

    We can also offer customers a company that you can actually talk to: drop us an email and we will get back to you.

    http://www.feedghost.com/

  2. I wouldn’t normally plug our product in such a blatant way, but, you did ask…

    FeedGhost is a feed reader for Vista & XP – we’re a synchronizing client application versus Google Reader’s or myFeedz’ web-app. We offer:

    * Single-key reading (although we present the articles in “chunks”, which we may change that, since so many people prefer the Google method);
    * Tagging of articles and web-pages, with comments, for later reading;
    * Publishing of tagged articles on a link blog, webpage, or embeddable gadget;
    * Instant search of all the articles you’ve ever read;
    * Management of “problem” subscriptions – ones that haven’t been posted to lately, or don’t update, etc.

    We can also offer customers a company that you can actually talk to: drop us an email and we will get back to you.

    http://www.feedghost.com/

  3. Scoble, you missed the word “seed” I guess. I follow this stuff pretty well, and the difference with another like Tailrank and Meggite are staggering.

    Techmeme is a SV paper. Oh, in case you still disagree, this definition is Gabe’s definition.

    “And, I doubt that anyone will kill their RSS because of my item blog, or link blog, or whatever you call it. Why? Cause everytime I put someone there they get more traffic on their home blog.”

    I don’t buy that, but time will tell. I am ready to take a bet. Wait until more people start stealing others content.

    “Google doesn’t let you comment on items from the shared feed.”

    That’s ironic, I have commented on this blog about that on this blog (basically asking Google to add a sticky note). But I think, in retrospect, should Google do that, authors would start rebelling, i.e. blocking the Google Reader feed fetcher, because it means that by adding notes you are taking control over someone else’s blog.

    I guess we’ll have to wait until more people use it. It’s an interesting study, and I’m glad you’re listening.

  4. Scoble, you missed the word “seed” I guess. I follow this stuff pretty well, and the difference with another like Tailrank and Meggite are staggering.

    Techmeme is a SV paper. Oh, in case you still disagree, this definition is Gabe’s definition.

    “And, I doubt that anyone will kill their RSS because of my item blog, or link blog, or whatever you call it. Why? Cause everytime I put someone there they get more traffic on their home blog.”

    I don’t buy that, but time will tell. I am ready to take a bet. Wait until more people start stealing others content.

    “Google doesn’t let you comment on items from the shared feed.”

    That’s ironic, I have commented on this blog about that on this blog (basically asking Google to add a sticky note). But I think, in retrospect, should Google do that, authors would start rebelling, i.e. blocking the Google Reader feed fetcher, because it means that by adding notes you are taking control over someone else’s blog.

    I guess we’ll have to wait until more people use it. It’s an interesting study, and I’m glad you’re listening.

  5. Stephane: TechMeme has had tens of thousands of sites on it. It’s pretty clear you don’t understand how it works, either.

    And, I doubt that anyone will kill their RSS because of my item blog, or link blog, or whatever you call it. Why? Cause everytime I put someone there they get more traffic on their home blog. Why is that? Oh, well, you might get interested in someone that way and want to see the rest of their blog (I only put 1,100 items out of 29,000 read in the past 30 days there). Or, you might want to leave a comment. Google doesn’t let you comment on items from the shared feed.

    Anyway, you forget that having a small number of people let you determine what’s popular. You might look into how TV ratings are done.

  6. Stephane: TechMeme has had tens of thousands of sites on it. It’s pretty clear you don’t understand how it works, either.

    And, I doubt that anyone will kill their RSS because of my item blog, or link blog, or whatever you call it. Why? Cause everytime I put someone there they get more traffic on their home blog. Why is that? Oh, well, you might get interested in someone that way and want to see the rest of their blog (I only put 1,100 items out of 29,000 read in the past 30 days there). Or, you might want to leave a comment. Google doesn’t let you comment on items from the shared feed.

    Anyway, you forget that having a small number of people let you determine what’s popular. You might look into how TV ratings are done.

  7. Link blog again? How about “shamelessly reproduced content from others” ?

    If more people out there use the “shared items” feature, I sense that it won’t be long before a number of people kill their RSS feed to avoid being stolen.

    As for Techmeme ability to show popular items, you prove once more that you don’t understand how Techmeme works. Techmeme is just a seed of a couple hundred blogs. It cannot by any stretch of the imagination be defined as a “journal of what’s popular”. A “real-time SiliconValley paper” is a closer definition.

  8. Link blog again? How about “shamelessly reproduced content from others” ?

    If more people out there use the “shared items” feature, I sense that it won’t be long before a number of people kill their RSS feed to avoid being stolen.

    As for Techmeme ability to show popular items, you prove once more that you don’t understand how Techmeme works. Techmeme is just a seed of a couple hundred blogs. It cannot by any stretch of the imagination be defined as a “journal of what’s popular”. A “real-time SiliconValley paper” is a closer definition.

  9. On a different note: Can you edit my comment. I just realised there’s a lot of typos. The third para:

    “Why? Why can the content are be clearly demarcated? I don’t want to know what Adobe things about my feeds…”

    should actually read:

    “Why? Why can’t the content area be clearly demarcated? I don’t want to know what Adobe thinks about my feeds…”

    Sheesh, that’s what you get with an overused keyboard, I guess.

    Thanks.

  10. On a different note: Can you edit my comment. I just realised there’s a lot of typos. The third para:

    “Why? Why can the content are be clearly demarcated? I don’t want to know what Adobe things about my feeds…”

    should actually read:

    “Why? Why can’t the content area be clearly demarcated? I don’t want to know what Adobe thinks about my feeds…”

    Sheesh, that’s what you get with an overused keyboard, I guess.

    Thanks.

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  12. Me looky MyFeedz. Me not likey… Methinks, Adobe can do better.

    Clunky interface. Huge Usability issues. Mega-size findability issues.

    Why? Why can the content are be clearly demarcated? I don’t want to know what Adobe things about my feeds. I want to tell Adobe what I think about my feeds and then it can take it over from there.

    Come to think of it, where did Blogofy disappear?

    As for your link blog, man, you read way to much for anyone to follow!! When do you actually work, Robert?

    On the other hand, if that’s what you call work, you have a sinecure there!! Lucky, lucky…

    Regards,
    Shri.

  13. Me looky MyFeedz. Me not likey… Methinks, Adobe can do better.

    Clunky interface. Huge Usability issues. Mega-size findability issues.

    Why? Why can the content are be clearly demarcated? I don’t want to know what Adobe things about my feeds. I want to tell Adobe what I think about my feeds and then it can take it over from there.

    Come to think of it, where did Blogofy disappear?

    As for your link blog, man, you read way to much for anyone to follow!! When do you actually work, Robert?

    On the other hand, if that’s what you call work, you have a sinecure there!! Lucky, lucky…

    Regards,
    Shri.

  14. I bet Microsoft is getting ready to launch their feed reader with a similar feature set as the Google Reader. This will probably be the big announcement at Mix07

  15. I bet Microsoft is getting ready to launch their feed reader with a similar feature set as the Google Reader. This will probably be the big announcement at Mix07

  16. Robert,

    I love google reader,the only thing I really miss is the ability to search my read feeds. I did this all the time in with Netnewswire. Strange for Google not to have search in a product.

    Google also recently added a nice item called clips of shared items for your blog. I put one on mine. See it here. http://dazilgroup.com/blog/ I use this along with my bluedots to point to things on my blog that don’t need additional info from me. Now I just need to combine them all into one feed for subscribers. This might work for you. It would let others see your shared items right on your blog.

  17. Robert,

    I love google reader,the only thing I really miss is the ability to search my read feeds. I did this all the time in with Netnewswire. Strange for Google not to have search in a product.

    Google also recently added a nice item called clips of shared items for your blog. I put one on mine. See it here. http://dazilgroup.com/blog/ I use this along with my bluedots to point to things on my blog that don’t need additional info from me. Now I just need to combine them all into one feed for subscribers. This might work for you. It would let others see your shared items right on your blog.

  18. Have you ckecked out Omea Reader from Jetbrains?

    It has a “River of News” capability but it does use a Ctrl Key to read.

    I have tried a number of off-line readers and found it to be the best.

    Also it’s free.

  19. Have you ckecked out Omea Reader from Jetbrains?

    It has a “River of News” capability but it does use a Ctrl Key to read.

    I have tried a number of off-line readers and found it to be the best.

    Also it’s free.

  20. I too would love to see a directory of folks’ shared feeds. I’ve come across some in reading Robert’s links. Jeremiah’s for instance. But love this form of reading. A reader’s reader of readers. Or something of the sort.

    You can tag individual items in the Google reader. After each post you can “add tags” but maybe you’re looking for more detailed tags? with descriptions?

    Reader is definitely not perfect but it works well for me. I don’t have rigorous standards though since I don’t spend my days online. It is more of a reader for the masses and I think Google tries to accomodate the masses more than the geek/tech community—
    Accomodating the entire long tail not just the stub?

  21. I too would love to see a directory of folks’ shared feeds. I’ve come across some in reading Robert’s links. Jeremiah’s for instance. But love this form of reading. A reader’s reader of readers. Or something of the sort.

    You can tag individual items in the Google reader. After each post you can “add tags” but maybe you’re looking for more detailed tags? with descriptions?

    Reader is definitely not perfect but it works well for me. I don’t have rigorous standards though since I don’t spend my days online. It is more of a reader for the masses and I think Google tries to accomodate the masses more than the geek/tech community—
    Accomodating the entire long tail not just the stub?

  22. I agree with Marjolein Hoekstra on two major points:

    1. No search
    2. No tags! Tags or metadata would help me remmember why I subscribed to the feed in the first place. The folder layering is a great way of organisation but I want to be able to slice and dice my feeds by drilling into tag clouds.

  23. I agree with Marjolein Hoekstra on two major points:

    1. No search
    2. No tags! Tags or metadata would help me remmember why I subscribed to the feed in the first place. The folder layering is a great way of organisation but I want to be able to slice and dice my feeds by drilling into tag clouds.

  24. Great idea. I nicked it. But you’re calling it the wrong name.

    It’s not a ‘linkblog’ – the automated posts from del.icio.us are that. It’s more than just links – it’s the items themselves.

    Similarly, it’s not a ‘blogroll’ – it’s not just a list of the blogs you read, but it’s the items themselves.

    That’s why, on the right-hand-side of my little blog at http://james.cridland.net/blog (good if you’re into radio’s steps into the multi-platform world, probably boring otherwise) you’ll find… my itemroll. Compiled in exactly the same way as you (but, for me, not pushing everyone away from my site.)

    So. Itemroll. It’ll catch on. Not a linkblog. Because it’s better than that.

  25. Great idea. I nicked it. But you’re calling it the wrong name.

    It’s not a ‘linkblog’ – the automated posts from del.icio.us are that. It’s more than just links – it’s the items themselves.

    Similarly, it’s not a ‘blogroll’ – it’s not just a list of the blogs you read, but it’s the items themselves.

    That’s why, on the right-hand-side of my little blog at http://james.cridland.net/blog (good if you’re into radio’s steps into the multi-platform world, probably boring otherwise) you’ll find… my itemroll. Compiled in exactly the same way as you (but, for me, not pushing everyone away from my site.)

    So. Itemroll. It’ll catch on. Not a linkblog. Because it’s better than that.

  26. Shawn, thanks for commenting about FeedDemon here. For the record, the ability the share items is in the works (you’ll be able to share your FeedDemon news bins).

  27. Woah! I had no clue that Adobe bought MyFeedz… I work with Okapi Studio (www.okapistudio.com) in Romania, and they are really good friends with the guy that made MyFeedz.com… I’ve actually talked to him a few times. I know Adobe went to Romania and bought out InterAKT (we know those guys too), so I’ll have to ask my friends over there, but maybe MyFeedz was a subsidiary of InterAKT. It’s a nice application though.

  28. Woah! I had no clue that Adobe bought MyFeedz… I work with Okapi Studio (www.okapistudio.com) in Romania, and they are really good friends with the guy that made MyFeedz.com… I’ve actually talked to him a few times. I know Adobe went to Romania and bought out InterAKT (we know those guys too), so I’ll have to ask my friends over there, but maybe MyFeedz was a subsidiary of InterAKT. It’s a nice application though.

  29. VRB: are you subscribed?

    Tess: I just went and looked at Great Reader. Where are the keyboard commands? Where’s the ability to share with others? Where’s the “River of News” feature?

    Those three are MUST HAVES now for any feed reader that’s going to get my business.

    Another nice thing? Be able to synchronize post reading on two different OS’s, since I use Windows and Mac.

    Why didn’t you mention any of those three in your post?

  30. VRB: are you subscribed?

    Tess: I just went and looked at Great Reader. Where are the keyboard commands? Where’s the ability to share with others? Where’s the “River of News” feature?

    Those three are MUST HAVES now for any feed reader that’s going to get my business.

    Another nice thing? Be able to synchronize post reading on two different OS’s, since I use Windows and Mac.

    Why didn’t you mention any of those three in your post?

  31. I’m still a FeedDemon user myself. While it doesn’t have the ability to share blogs with others I don’t believe I’ve ever needed such a feature. If something really is important enough to share I just IM the permalink, mark it in delicious or simply click add a link in my blog.

    There seems to be a minority that needs this link gathering, link management ability and they are usually people with high-traffic blogs vs. the average blog reader that has maybe 10 – 50 feeds and probably don’t even have a blog themselves.

    A key feature that Google Reader lacks for me is offline support and automatic enclosure downloading. I’ll set FeedDemon to gather all the posts over night or while I’m working and then use the offline feature to read them while on the plane or in a location without wireless (despite popular belief wireless isn’t everywhere quite yet). I also have FeedDemon set to automatically download the BBC podcasts, which in turn get automatically sync’d to my Zune, so each morning I just grab and go.

    In an odd twist I know most people would use iTunes with it’s rich podcast support to sync their iPod yet I much prefer to manage all my feeds, whether they are normal feeds or feeds with enclosures (podcasts) in one central area. For one thing I usually discover new podcast feeds via my normal feed reading, so having to switch over to iTunes to add it is rather cumbersome.
    Another thing I love about FeedDemon is that it’s directly integrated with NewsGator so my read feeds are in sync yet I still have the richness of a native app vs. the limitations of a browser-based app. If I happen to be someplace without FeedDemon no problem, I can still fall back on the browser-based newsgator.

    For me the very few unique features Google Reader has aren’t nearly enough to compensate for the richness of FeedDemon.

  32. I’m still a FeedDemon user myself. While it doesn’t have the ability to share blogs with others I don’t believe I’ve ever needed such a feature. If something really is important enough to share I just IM the permalink, mark it in delicious or simply click add a link in my blog.

    There seems to be a minority that needs this link gathering, link management ability and they are usually people with high-traffic blogs vs. the average blog reader that has maybe 10 – 50 feeds and probably don’t even have a blog themselves.

    A key feature that Google Reader lacks for me is offline support and automatic enclosure downloading. I’ll set FeedDemon to gather all the posts over night or while I’m working and then use the offline feature to read them while on the plane or in a location without wireless (despite popular belief wireless isn’t everywhere quite yet). I also have FeedDemon set to automatically download the BBC podcasts, which in turn get automatically sync’d to my Zune, so each morning I just grab and go.

    In an odd twist I know most people would use iTunes with it’s rich podcast support to sync their iPod yet I much prefer to manage all my feeds, whether they are normal feeds or feeds with enclosures (podcasts) in one central area. For one thing I usually discover new podcast feeds via my normal feed reading, so having to switch over to iTunes to add it is rather cumbersome.
    Another thing I love about FeedDemon is that it’s directly integrated with NewsGator so my read feeds are in sync yet I still have the richness of a native app vs. the limitations of a browser-based app. If I happen to be someplace without FeedDemon no problem, I can still fall back on the browser-based newsgator.

    For me the very few unique features Google Reader has aren’t nearly enough to compensate for the richness of FeedDemon.

  33. Couple of things I miss in Google Reader:
    - option to annotate shared items
    - option to publish a web-based OPML
    - option to subscribe to someone else’s OPML and be notified when that OPML changes
    - the obvious search capabilities that others have mentioned many times before me.

    I mark stuff of interest too using del.icio.us (RSSonate, mostly RSS-related bookmarks). It lets me enter 255-char descriptions so that people know WHY I’m recommending passing links on in the first place.

    Before I forget, Robert: sincere congrats on the membership of the Media 2.0 Workgroup.

  34. Couple of things I miss in Google Reader:
    - option to annotate shared items
    - option to publish a web-based OPML
    - option to subscribe to someone else’s OPML and be notified when that OPML changes
    - the obvious search capabilities that others have mentioned many times before me.

    I mark stuff of interest too using del.icio.us (RSSonate, mostly RSS-related bookmarks). It lets me enter 255-char descriptions so that people know WHY I’m recommending passing links on in the first place.

    Before I forget, Robert: sincere congrats on the membership of the Media 2.0 Workgroup.

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