What’s the best RSS reader?

by ron on February 27, 2007

ReaderI’ve used a quite a few RSS aggregators/readers in the past.

After trying out both software based and web based solutions around a year ago, I ended up choosing the web-based BlogLines. Part of the reason for this was the ability to access my RSS feeds from anywhere – even from an internet kiosk. I also found it was intuitive to use and seemed to do all I needed.

A work collegue recently tried getting me onto KlipFolio, which is a software-based program. Think of it as a widget which you can keep over your desktop and get a birds-eye-view of a whole pile of feeds quickly. Although the look and feel of it is quite sexy, and even though it does give you a good overview of all of the relevant feeds, I found it lacking when it came to reading through the RSS posts. Specifically, I found it lacking in two features which I’ll describe in the paragraphs below.

Around a month ago, some friends of mine told me to check out Google Reader. I did so, and was very impressed. You get the usual Google “clean” look and feel, with no clutter. You can easily add new feeds, and place them into custom folders. You can use keyboard shortcusts. It’s web based, so you can access your RSS content from anywhere, but there are two features which I now can’t live without.

Firstly, just like in Gmail, it allows you to mark each post that you’re interested in with a star. When you do so, you can then click on the “starred items” link in order to see all of the RSS posts which you’ve starred/bookmarked. I find this extremely useful.

The second awesome feature is the ability to create your own tags for any RSS post.

Here’s a screenshot of the features mentioned above. Click on the thumbnail to see the full size image.

The combination of these two features will completely change the way you keep up to date with RSS feeds.

The way I’m currently using this is that I’ll tag any post I find interesting with the relevant tag labels, and if I want to come back to this post in the short term (perhaps to blog about it myself), I will mark it with a star.

Google Reader also has a third unique option, which allows you to share RSS posts you find interesting with people you know.
You do this by clicking on the Share button in the toolbar, which you can also see from the screenshot above.

Feedburner have recently released a report showing that Google Reader has indeed become the dominant RSS aggregator used by people that actively read RSS content (ie they click on the links within the post).

Which RSS reader is your favourite? Let me know in the comments section below.


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