Web 2.0, Old-school Style

Posted by on March 31, 2006 at 2:44 pm.

Frank Gruber from Somewhat Frank posted a nice web-based feed reader comparison over at TechCrunch. The readers he reviewed included:

In summary, he declared Google Reader and FeedLounge the best for speed. He liked Bloglines and Rojo for best features. That said, he felt none of these web-based readers had the speed and agility(?) of the best desktop readers like NetNewsWire and FeedDemon.

I share this first for my readers trying different feed readers, but also to pose a dashboard question I’ve been wondering about. Given that we already have good tools for email, messaging and browsing, do we need a new desktop tool for feeds? I know it’s hard to resist new=good, but if the answer is no, then which of our existing tools is best for reading feeds? The ones reviewed above leverage your browser, but that’s not where I’m headed.

My inbox, and specifically Outlook, is the closest thing I have to a daily dashboard. I do significant research via browsing and, less frequently, instant message friends/colleagues, but spend an order of magnitude more time working with my inbox. Therefore, I have chosen the feeds-by-email provider FEEDblitz to deliver my feeds so that I can read/organize them as part of my ordinary email ritual.

It doesn’t hurt that I also use FEEDblitz to manage subscriptions to my blog and I’ve noticed that over half of my subscribers are choosing email instead of another feed reader (desktop or web combined). Admittedly, that may be due to my blog template having a big left-side button that says “Email Subscribe”, but I also have a text “Subscribe” link and the feed-linked orange logo for subscribing via other readers.

So, is the inbox a superior dashboard, am I abnormal, or is there substantial market for all reader forms? Before you answer that, especially you “RSS-rules!” digirati, try out my “Email Subscribe” and then tell me if FEEDblitz isn’t onto an interesting old-school play for Web2.0…

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