I came across this new web based RSS Reader through Lifehacker and bookmarked it to try it out later. I got around to trying it today and here are my impressions on it.
What readers have I tried?
I am a RSS feed
junkie fan. I have tried desktop and web based readers. And I have settled down with the portable version of GreatNews. Google Reader was everything I wanted until I tried the slick interface of Netvibes. The tabs and the collapsible boxes with feed headlines was so cool when you have a couple hundred feeds. Then, I got bolder and tried out a couple of desktop clients but wanted the agility of a portable RSS reader and found GreatNews. With my ever shortening attention span for web tools, the fact that I have stuck with GreatNews for months now should say something about it. Few others I have tried are Omea Reader, Bloglines, etc.
What is Fastladder?
- Register for a free account to use the service.
- First time you login, you can either import an OPML file or point to a location in the web.
- Import: I had about 230 feeds in around 20 groups/folders and the import took about 4 minutes. It preserved all folder structures and the feeds. Not bad!
- Rating: You can rate the blogs. But, I am not sure how I would end up using this feature. It’ll probably useful when trying out new blogs to rate their content and once in a while delete all the poorly rated ones or the ones I haven’t rated at all which probably means I never read that feed. Might as well delete it.
- Search: One thing that stands out is the Integrated Search! I can’t believe Google Reader doesn’t have it yet but if Fastladder was counting on just this feature to compete with the big G, I think they will be history faster than you can say ‘fast’. I am sure Google is working on all 4-billion cylinders to bring search to GReader.
- Sorting: It trumps GReader here as well with additional sorting options. You can sort by rating, title or number of subscribers, which itself will be useful only after Fastladder goes mainstream.
- Favicons: This is the little icon you see by the name of the site and it is very helpful to quickly zoom into a feed than scanning down a long list of feeds you have.
- Bookmarklet: Use this bookmarklet to easily add site feeds to Fastladder.
- Options: There are plenty of options to change the font size, number of feeds per page, number of feeds fetched, etc.
Should I ditch Google Reader?
I wouldn’t. But, if any of the above features that are missing in GReader but available here, it is definitely worth a try for e.g., searching feeds for specific words. But, with the ability to set up a new account and import your feeds all in a few minutes, you have nothing to lose in trying out this new service.
Mind you, the service was just released on July 3 and it already has beaten GReader to the punch in a few key areas. I have to appreciate the team’s effort on that and hope they will be able to stay ahead of the curve.