Frankly Speaking About RSS Readers

    March 31, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Frank Gruber, the mind behind the Somewhat Frank blog, subjected nine web-based RSS feed readers to a comparison and blogged about the best on TechCrunch.

“Syndication is undoubtedly the heartbeat of the web 2.0 movement,” Gruber began by way of introduction for his substantial post on TechCrunch about online feed readers. A feed reader does the heavy lifting for a user, by scouring sites and collecting all the new items in feeds in the reader.

Gruber did not include MyYahoo in his assessment, though he called it the “most widely used web-based reader.” Online virtual desktops and portals like NetVibes and also did not fall under his purview. Nine purely online feed readers did, as listed here:

•  Attensa Online
•  Bloglines
•  FeedLounge
•  Google Reader
•  Gritwire
•  News Alloy
•  NewsGator Online
•  Pluck Web Edition
•  Rojo

Gruber found Google Reader and FeedLounge had the fastest average times per feed when loading five feeds. He gave Rojo credit for its “Mojo” system where users can rate the items being displayed. Rojo and Gritwire received special mention for their contacts features, which allow for the “social aspect” of sharing information of interest with others.

Pluck’s FeedFinder and Rojo’s recommendations feature offer users the chance to discover new feeds of interest.

Ultimately, Gruber acknowledged that out of this admittedly small slice of the online feed reader market, FeedLounge and Google Reader won out on performance, while Bloglines and Rojo offered the broadest feature sets.

A chart he created comparing several features among the readers will be a living document, which he plans to update depending on added information about these feed readers. But none of them managed to outperform “the speed and agility of the best desktop based readers like NetNewsWire and FeedDemon,” Gruber wrote.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.