After Google decided to abandon their simple-to-use feed viewing service, Reader, several other prospects gained clients. Amongst popular names like Prismatic, Newsblur, Pulse and TheOldReader, we’ve found that Feedly is pretty much the best variant to use. It has a stylish, but yet simple interface, which can accommodate several types of clients and a news pushing service that offers a fluent navigation experience.
The proof of these words can be easily found after using Feedly for a couple of days and yet another testimony was revealed by the service makers itself, which claimed that over 500,000 users have migrated from Google Reader in about 48 hours. Gaining so much hype, we thought to show people how to truly experience this service, with a handful of configuration guides and advices based on our time spent with Feedly.
I first looked for simplicity inside an RSS delivery engine and Feedly managed to do that with grace. Then, I found that besides simplicity, Feedly also delivers a stylish way to read news and a couple of management options, which may be seen as a much-needed plus. For instance, for those who wished to migrate from Google right over here, the service now relies on simply porting the feeds configured under Google Reader. When the last stated will stop functioning, Feedly will continue to exist thanks to a back-up engine called Normandy, which will vouch for a seamless transition.
Moreover, Feedly is adapted for several reading platforms, desktop and mobile alike. Users have the possibility of using the service directly from the website, intelligent browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari) or via Android / iOS platform. Actually, it seems this is the place where Feedly is most popular, claiming the number 1 spot on the Apple Store last week.
As a bonus, Feedly also comes with a few interesting functions, such as a “Save for Later”, social media integration which lets you know what stories received the most attention and also, a best of today section. It’s a peach, in other words.
How to use Feedly?
Right after Google decided to shut down Reader, a lot of users started to look for good alternatives, by simply replacing a soon-to-be murdered service, with another of similar looks and functionality. While Feedly can certainly pass as the search giant’s home-made RSS client, it also poses the ability to extend its features and create a wonderful experience. For most of you, Feedly will certainly feel like a premium upgrade.
How to Import Google Reader feeds?
The first move that needs to be done is to port all of your Google Reader feeds over to Feedly. Thanks to a nice trick implemented right in the service, this can be done literally in less than a minute, by simply signing-in using your Google account. All you have to do is navigate to the start page and then click on the Connect to Google Reader button.
After allowing Feedly to sign in with your Google credentials, all of your existing RSS feeds will be imported and nicely arranged under the same user-made folders, just like before. The only palpable difference will be felt in the visual style, but we have ways of fixing even that.
Adding new feeds
After making sure that all of our old feeds have been successfully ported, we can try to add new sources as well. For instance, let’s add Technology Personalized to the list (of course, if you don’t have it already).
- Click on Add Website, from the left options menu.
- In the upper-right part, type the name of the desired website, in our case, TechPP, and a list of existing feeds will be displayed right below.
- Now click on the plus sign near the most-relevant link, usually signaled by the most number of users already subscribed. When you are not sure what to choose, clicking on the green link will also reveal a couple of existing posts, just to make a brief idea if it’s what you are looking for.
- After pushing the plus, you will have to assign a name for the newly-added website and then pick a folder to contain it. You also have here an option to create a totally new category.
- Click the Add button found below and you’re done.
Changing Styles and Themes
When first entering Feedly, you will be displayed with the casual Today’s latest and greatest news, which is rendered in a mixed way of view. In the upper section we have three Windows 8-like tiles with a short snippet underneath, followed by several others organized in a horizontal view. All of these news come only from your feeds, and not from external sources. To bypass this menu, click the All button from the left-hand section. This is actually, the home feeding panel.
From the upper-right section, a Settings wheel can be used to change the view of your feeds, with the following styles:
- Titles – similar to Google Reader
- Magazine – similar to the best of Today
- Timeline – a style encountered even on our homepage
- Full Article
This panel is used to change the view of a specific section or folder. If you want to set a default style across the whole service, you will have to navigate to the Preference panel from the same left-side panel and in the middle of the menu, choose the preferred option from Default View.
In the Preference menu we can also choose which page should be presented when log-in, the font of the title header, the language and the link color, for both read and unread pieces. A number of advanced is also available here, but we will discuss the most relevant in the following lines.
Another simple modification can be done from the Themes menu, found just above Preferences. From here, users have the possibility of choosing various background colors, including Gray, Teal, Blue, Black, Red, Purple and White. This last flavor will mimic the Google Reader in almost all aspects.
Tagging and Saving Articles
When browsing through thousands of pieces, you sometimes need to save some for later. Just like the Starred feature of Google Reader, Feedly comes with a bookmarking section, available from every title online. To activate it, simply hover over a story, and click on the middle button from the newly-appeared menu.
For those curious, clicking the left button will open the story in a new browser tab and the big X will remove the piece from your view. Also in the right side, Feedly will show users how old is the story.
All bookmarked stories will appear under the Saved tag, in the left section of the website.
Moreover, tagging is also implemented in Feedly. This means that once tags are configured, you have the ability to apply one of them to desired posts, and split read articles into even more categories. Now, to define and use tags, follow the steps below:
- In the Preferences menu, from the left side of the website, scroll to the Tagging section.
- Simply write desired tags and split them using a comma.
- Press the Enter key to confirm your choice.
- Now click on a news and then on the +Tag button, just like above.
- Choose the relevant tag and that post will be automatically assigned to another, mini category (which can be found beneath main folders).
Using the keyboard
Feedly also has a couple of keyboard shortcuts implemented, which can activate simple feature if the user presses a pre-defined set of keys. For instance, by pressing R, feeds will automatically refresh or by pressing G+M Feedly will automatically present the news of today. The complete list can be displayed by pressing the ‘?’ button (that’s Shift + ? for Windows users), and it looks just like above.
From the Preferences menu, the bottom section especially, users can tweak some social or advanced aspects of the client. One of them is called the Twitter Postfix, and it defines a text string which is automatically added in posts you tweet from Feedly. Changing the text inside this box will further customize your tweet.
In the Mini Toolbar section, users can enable or disable the social sharing bar appearing right underneath every news title. Also from here, you can choose your favorite sharing services, by simply writing their name. Gmail, Twitter and Facebook are currently supported, but more will be added in the near future. Moreover, you can choose to filter even further this social bar, by excluding its appearance in explicit sources.
Another interesting option can be found in the Advanced section, where users can choose to automatically mark news as read, whenever scrolling towards the bottom of the page. Also, you have the possibility of activating this feature only in the Feedly view which displays entire pages, not excerpts. Moreover, a time counter can be defined for selected news as well.