Today, I could have talked about Steve Ballmer’s surprise retirement, or the Moto X or even about Google and Facebook trying to provide Internet access to the entire world. But instead, I will talk about news syndication.
A few months back Google Reader was shut down. For those of you who don’t know GReader, it was a simple and powerful RSS reader.
RSS – what? Well, according to Wikipedia: “[RSS] is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works – such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video – in a standardized format.”
Basically, GReader was a great tool to centralize the content published on websites. With the termination of GReader, a lot of services rushed to replace it: Feedly, Digg Read, AOL reader, etc. But what if the technology itself (RSS, Atom) is outdated? Here, I will list what could be the future: news reading on the go.
- Flipboard is a great app that aggregates a lot of feeds: social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc.), websites, blogs, and user created magazine. It is available for Android and iOS. In Flipboard the feeds are only sorted by source.
- Google Currents is a mobile app that allows you to subscribe to feeds from diverse websites. It is beautiful and easy to use. But the only way to subscribe to a news is search for the website from inside the app. In GCurrents, the feeds are sorted by source, and sources by themes.
- Pulse is also a mobile app for Android and iOS, that focuses on news aggregation. It provides a good way to go through the latest headline by displaying the information in a mosaic. The feeds are sorted by subject; in each subject’s category the feeds are displayed by source in a horizontal timeline style.
- Prismatic is a website and an iOS app (for now). The website (I haven’t had the chance to try the iOS app) allows you to subscribe to tags and it will aggregate the content from various sources based on these tags. Moreover each user can share articles and then create a feed to which other users can subscribe to. The result is a timeline where all the articles from different topics are displayed as cards. Of course you can filter the timeline based on a specific theme.
- At last, there is Zite. Here also, you subscribe to topics instead of sources. The UI is clean and easy to use. But its main advantage is that it learns from you reading habits, and provides you curated content based on what you like and dislike.
The main problem of these services is that, for publishers, it’s not as simple as generating an RSS feed out of their content, in most cases you have to register your website to each of these “news aggregator”.
If you know another service worth checking, feel free to mention it in the comment.