Organizing Your Web Browsing II – The Follow Up!!

Since I wrote the previous post on organizing your web browsing I’ve had a number of people reach out to me with additional products and ideas.  I’ve been so infatuated with Flipboard that I didn’t give proper attention to any number of additional products on the market.  I’m sure I can’t do them all just here but I thought I’d mention a few others and focus on key functionality to look for in a reader.

Generally these products started out as simple news aggregators or RSS readers.  RSS  or Rich Site Summary (often called Really Simple Syndication) is a format to publish frequently updated information whether it be blog entries, news, audio or video.  It’s often referred to as a ‘feed’.  Today there is a whole industry of readers out there that not only offer pre-configured connections to many publication feeds but also offer integration to the users personal social media feeds as well as the ability to post back to social media with a simple click.

The intention of these products is to centralize your online life to help make your time online more efficient.  Everyone surfs the web differently so you need to chose what’s right for you.

  • Most offer a preset list of resource feeds to chose from that don’t require any work to set up other than pointing and clicking.
  • Some have very basic scaled down user interfaces with very few bells and whistles, News Free is an example….very little user experience, just very simple.  However some have nice user interface that are really graphically pleasing, Netvibes, Flipboard and Start.Me to name a few.
  • Most today offer the ability to receive your social media feed in the same user experience.  I don’t like that myself, I’d rather use the social media apps for that but if that’s helpful to you then check that out.  Some of the more simple RSS feeders like News Feed don’t offer that.
  • A big one for me is how the application behaves when you click on an article or link to read.  I’m a big fan of wanting to stay in the reader application and be able to read the article, then return back to browsing further articles.  Some open the article right in the website where the article is located or open a new tab in your browser to that article.  Start.Me is an example of a reader that goes to the article or opens in a new tab.
  • Also important is how you prefer to do your browsing.  Do you prefer an app or a web based experience?  Are you more mobile or computer based?  Some like Netvibes and Flipboard offer both web based and apps that are in sync with each other however News Feed is just an app.  Start.Me is just web based today but they are optimized for mobile browsing and I’m told they are coming out with an app in the second quarter this year.
  • Finally, ease of setup and use is important.  I found Netvibes setup to be confusing and I struggled getting it setup the way I wanted.  However Start.Me had an awesome tutorial that held my hand through the setup process, it was really great.

As I’ve said, I’m a fan of these applications as they make my web browsing a much easier experience.  Give one a try and see if you think so to.  Let me know what you find!

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