How many feed readers have you tried so far in order to tame the Niagara of feeds? I admit I have done my share. After so many years, the tried and tested Google Reader and the classy Flipboard have won the game for me. But that isn’t to say I don’t try out the next cool one I find. RSS remains the best way to consume content for me. RSS is passive…just give it the feed URL and it does the rest. But sowing the seeds for up-to-the-minute content is one thing; harvesting the ones you want to read is another.
Surprisingly, Google Reader does not give us any straightforward way to organize our feeds. Yes, you can search within a feed and also add tags, but there’s no real easy way to separate the wheat from the chaff without the aid of third-party tools.
This is an open door invite for third-party Google Reader alternatives to come to your aid. FeedBooster comes calling.
Q-Sensei FeedBooster Is the Interactive Answer
If an unruly Google Reader inbox has been your bane, then Q-Sensei FeedBooster could be the antidote. FeedBooster is a web based feed aggregator that comes with several powerful feed sorting features that should help you home in on exactly what you want to read.
The features are:
- An ad-free soothing interface with three formats to read your feeds.
- Sort your feeds alphabetically or by frequency.
- Sort your feeds by – folder, date, tag, author, source, and language.
- Last but not the least, a multi-dimensional search across all RSS feeds with Google-like search operators.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s sign-up, and gives our feeds a bit of a booster. Register and log-in with any of the mentioned social accounts (and also OpenID). You can add RSS and Atom feeds to FeedBooster.
A note on refreshing content: FeedBooster says that feeds that support the PubSubHubbub protocol will be updated in real time. You don’t have to do anything to get the most breaking news. Feeds that don’t provide this protocol will be updated every 30 minutes.
The Multi-Dimensional Search-Powered RSS Feed Reader
With FeedBooster you can import your previous feeds as an OPML file or start fresh. FeedBooster gives you a leg up with some ready-made Feed-Sets which are packaged bundles of feeds.
Either way, you should head to the Dashboard which gives you the complete overview of all your feeds. FeedBooster arranges all feeds in neat little blocks. Clicking on them takes you to the source website. The real utility of FeedBooster lies in the sets of filters. The Dashboard has sets of filters on the left which allow you to customize your reading and bring the content that matters front and center.
FeedBooster calls it “contextual filtering”. The filters allow you to see all your feeds in multiple dimensions. For instance, if you want to read the most recent news, you simply have to bear down on the Date filter and click on Today. Now, if I want to read only the tech-related news stuff for today, I will immediately click on Daily Technology News which is grouped under Folder. Similarly, I can add another filter (like the specific author) to the mix if I just want to read it from a favorite source.
The selected filters are collectively displayed on the top. FeedBooster follows its own algorithms to display the contextual filters. You can cancel the filters selectively to broaden your search results again.
Even within the filters, you can click on More to expand the options and select multiple options for inclusion.
If you plan to use the selected set of filters again, I suggest you save them as a Search Profile. Give it a name. One of the obvious advantages of saved search profiles is that you can get to the news you want in a second instead of having to rummage about.
FeedBooster also gives you a handy search engine which takes Google-like search operators to fine-tune a search through the amassed feeds. What’s more, the search bar supports auto-suggestions (and also displays the number of feeds you can tap into).
Personalization for Readability
Unlike Google Reader, FeedBooster gives you quite a lot of leeway for customization. Clicking on the gear icon on the right takes you to the Customize Dashboard setting. As you see at a glance from the screenshot, you can tweak the position of the filters, the feed layout and the number of items you want displayed under the filters.
For readability, try experimenting with the Feed Layout options and decide on the one which is more comfortable for you. Personally, I use the default Grid layout for taking in the maximum at a glance. You can bookmark your favorite articles. FeedBooster says that it stores all news articles from your subscribed feeds for 90 days. All bookmarked RSS articles will remain accessible to you beyond this time limit. All your bookmarked articles can be found under “Bookmarked” in the My History search filter on the left. They are also searchable in the same way as regular feeds.
If you are among the many who find Google Reader a bit too cluttered, then you will appreciate FeedBooster. No ads and an adherence to functionality over eye candy looks are the hallmarks of this Google Reader alternative. But it is you the reader who is the final judge. Does FeedBooster pass muster? Which is your favorite feed reader or aggregator of choice?