Maybe an RSS reader is better than FriendFeed after all

The other day, on a post about the acquisition of FriendFeed by Facebook, I pointed back at a post I wrote in October, 2007 in which I wrote, “I already have a friend feed – it’s called an RSS newsreader.” I suggested in my post about the acquistion that I was obviously wrong in my earlier take on FriendFeed.

Today, there’s some blog chatter concerning the realization that new features on Google Reader (Could Google Reader Become the Next Friendfeed?) are making it a lot like FriendFeed. So I take it back: maybe I wasn’t wrong.

Sidenote: I’m now a fan of FriendFeed, but Google Reader is the place I live. It’s not only my browser start page — it’s pretty much my browser middle page and end page, also. Oddly, whenever I speak to groups of real people (individuals not obsessed with geekitude) I always ask how many of them use Google Reader (I’ve quit saying RSS Reader). None do. Only a small percentage of them even use iGoogle. Frankly, I don’t understand how someone can cope with all this stuff that bombards us everyday if they didn’t have the internet organized with a news reader. If you’re reading this and don’t use Google Reader, spend a little time setting it up and using it a little each day to make the web come to you — rather than you going to it. Within a week, you’ll be thanking me for saving you lots of time. Or “cussing” me because you’ve discovered some incredible new feeds to follow.

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  • hamish

    rex – i also am surprised at how relatively rare it is to find google reader users among my acquaintances and that seems related to what’s been called the failure of RSS to gain a wide audience. im not sure what the reason is behind it but it could be unfairly painted as being too technical for laymen although ironically ‘simple’ is part of its name. i, for one, have tried to reduce my dependence on google reader but its just too damn convenient.

    i also realize that google reader is most popular in the US and english speaking world. there’s still more to be done in terms of penetrating other markets.

    finally, i am constantly surprised by how little google works on its constellation of products (reader, docs, etc) relative to its search business event though they say they are serious about them. makes one hesitant to commit to a company that seemingly has huge resources yet doesn’t seem to do enough with them.

  • T-Rex I have a new version of my River2 aggregator in the works.

  • To me the main and crucial difference between an RSS feed and FriendFeed is the community aspect – RSS feed is a vertical stream of news, FriendFeed is a much more complex community aggregation that is then subgrouped by topic – so much smarter.

  • @Dave – Can’t wait.
    @Alin – The post I pointed to explains that Google Reader has added lots of features that make it more community like — liking, commenting, sharing, following, organizing by groups are now all a part of Google Reader. By the way, FriendFeed is an RSS Reader in some ways (I can subscribe to any RSS feed using it). However, they never called it an RSS Reader — or an API Reader, for that matter. Perhaps their best job was in branding.

  • I’m exactly the same way with regard to google reader – though I have become a big fan of using it through feedly.

  • I’m a Feedly fan, too, though I’m trying out the new features in Google reader this week…

    The “community” aspect of FriendFeed has never been a huge draw for me. I care about the content I want first and the source second… using keyword driven RSS feeds in Google Reader/Feedly helps me keep that order straight.

    To me, it seems as if FriendFeed reverses the priority, for better or for worse.