Feedly: A Great Alternative to Google Reader



A few weeks back, I wrote of my frustrations with the recent Google Reader update, particularly the ridiculously wide spacing in list view. Many other bloggers also expressed their dissatisfaction with the update and some suggested alternative feed readers. One very popular suggestion was Feedly. I already knew about it from a post on Blogging Tips back in 2009: Feedly: Blog Reading in Style and I had tried it out then… unfortunately not thoroughly enough. I like to read post titles in list or titles view rather than as a magazine or mosaic layout – I can browse through articles more quickly this way. I didn’t look carefully enough for titles view back then and so persevered with Google Reader. But now people were saying that Feedly does have list view, so I had to look at it again. It does have list view as you can see above, and overall I’m pretty impressed.

It’s easy to get started with Feedly, just load up the extension in your browser then link to Google to import your feeds. I don’t want to do a full review of Feedly – there are plenty of posts out there doing that. Having said that, Feedly has just upgraded to version 8 today with some changes including ‘infinite’ scrolling feeds. There’s a nice summary of the changes on ReadWriteWeb. I’ll just focus on a couple of advantages and disadvantages Feedly has in comparison with Google Reader.

Feedly’s Advantages over Google Reader

1. Choose from a number of different themes. But at the moment, they’re a little dark and some of the fonts a little too small.

2. Nice layout and post title spacing.

3. Marking items as read and changing feed folders is blindingly fast in comparison with Reader. Having said that, the new version of Feedly introduced today has ‘infinite scrolling’ rather than paged views and I find it a little slower to load than before to refresh feeds. One way round that is to just show unread feeds rather than all feeds. To do that go to Change layout shown on the image at the top and select ‘Unread Only’.

4. There are a lot of preferences you can set up to customise Feedly and there are many nice touches which you only discover when working with it. For example, you can mark new posts as read just by clicking on the ‘Unread posts’ shown on the image above – if you can see it (discussed in the Disadvantages).

Feedly’s Disadvantages Compared with Google Reader

1. Can’t filter out posts on the basis of keywords in the post title. Using Google Reader Filter this can be done in Google Reader. Keyword filtering would be a nice addition in Feedly and would have let me filter out all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday posts suffocating my feeds last weekend.

2. Here’s an annoying little thing about Feedly. If you haven’t refreshed the list in a while and you mark the list as read, when you refresh the list all the posts you hadn’t seen will also be marked as read. Google Reader doesn’t do this. You have to remember to Refresh before you mark as read, using the buttons on the right side as shown in the image above.

3. It’s not easy to see the number of Unread posts in your categories because the font size is way to small; and the theme colour can make it pretty much invisible – see above image.

I’m going to contact Feedly on these points and see if they’re considering anything. Having said that, for me the advantages of Feedly outweigh the disadvantages and so I’ll be staying with it. If you use Google Reader and haven’t tried Feedly, I strongly recommend you have a look at it.

2 Responses

  1. Anurag Bansal Says:

    Thanks for the article on Feedly. I have been using it for over a year as a better alternative to Google Reader, and I must say, this is awesome.
    I was thinking of writing about it myself, but now I can just link to your post.
    Thanks again…

  2. techandlife Says:

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Anurag. The more I use Feedly the more I’m finding out. Just discovered that if you highlight text in a post on Feedly you get a drop-down box with options to search, translate or send to Twitter. Nice.

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