In early 2013 we got a major shock. Google Reader – a service and site I had spent a huge amount of time getting setup perfectly for me and which I used extensively to monitor my RSS feeds was shutting down. Google was slimming back services that it felt did not have a big enough public following and Reader was to go by July. There were immediately a number of companies saying that they would be producing their own replacement. RSS feeds are not something that gets the general public excited but for someone whose job involves monitoring a number of sites for information, press releases and news they are invaluable.
The competition slimmed down quickly with the clear front runner being Feedly. Feedly had been running for a while as a overlay on Google Reader and spent the time until reader shut down madly building infrastructure and a back end that could support their new customers. They succeeded and kept a decent free service running over the changeover. Soon afterwards they announced their business model – the free plan was to be available to anyone who wanted it but some advanced power features would only be available via the paid Feedly Pro. This Pro subscription would cost $5.41 (£3.51 ) a month and would include a number of extras.
The extras at the time of writing include: shared collections – the ability to share sets of feeds, power search – using operators or within specific feeds, faster polling of feeds, saving to Evernote, Pocket and OneNote, sharing to LinkedIn, Hootsuite and Buffer. It also adds backup of your feeds and posts to Dropbox, the ability to interact with IFTTT and Zapier and faster support if something goes wrong. Finally it includes early access to any new services or features Feedly offers in the future and the ability to suggest and vote on possible new features.
The chances are that not everything on the list will interest everyone but that you’ll see a few things that are useful. Personally I found the backup to Evernote and Dropbox and the ability to share to Hootsuite were what I needed. For you the high points might be different.
Price: $5.41 – around £3.51 a month
DevHD was formed in 2006 with the idea of making a software aggregator called Streets. This evolved and changed into a web extension called Feeddo which launched to the public in 2008 and was rapidly renamed to Feedly. It expanded slowly on to mobile platforms reaching less than 100,000 users until 2013 when it gained 500,000 new users in 48 hours on the announcement of Google Reader’s closure. This rapidly swelled to over 12 million users by the end of May that year and has been growing ever since.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
Feedly is accessible to people with diverse abilities. The system has a default green and white theme that is clean and simple but which can be customised with different text densities, styles and colors. If you want to get more involved there are a number of third party themes which can be installed. These are available without the Pro account.
It’s design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and circumstances.
It is simple to set-up, use and maintain although when you get to the level which may call for a Pro subscription is rather more complicated. There are visual magazine styled ways to navigate Feedly but a good level of literacy is required to get the most out of it.
Feedly has an ergonomic design with a straightforward and logical layout. It can be controlled entirely via the mouse or trackpad or if you prefer there are a number of keyboard shortcuts available on the web interface and on mobile the phone’s buttons (volume) can be used to step forward in the articles.
If you are in the target market for Feedly Pro you are almost certainly going to be involved in journalism, PR, blogging or some form of the media. A £3.51 a month cost to improve your workflow and ensure you have backups is a very small price to pay and will be among the cheapest of the software or subscriptions that you pay for.
Platforms Native:Web, Android (2.3 or later) and iOS (6.0 or later)
Platforms Third party: NextGen on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, gNewsReader on Blackberry and Symbian
API: Yes, available by request
When Google Reader shut down we were very worried about what might come next. Feedly has proven itself to be a worthy successor in the time since but do you need to get the Pro version?
There is a clue as to who Feedly Pro is aimed at in the name. Feedly is a freemium service offering the majority of it’s facilities to everyone but if you use it as part of your job or are a very dedicated amateur some of the the extras that come with a Pro subscription are going to be useful. The extra features are going to be irrelevant to many but are well executed and if you need them well worth their price. Recommended for avid users.
The review is based on a Feedly Pro subscription in September 2015. This post was first published 21st September 2015