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visual rss readerI love RSS feeds. It’s probably the single thing I spend the most time explaining and persuading people about. And once you turn someone on to RSS, there’s no going back.

Generally though, RSS feeds are pretty drab, with the emphasis on drab, rather than pretty.

Enter the visual RSS reader Feedlooks, and the world of what they themselves describe as “˜full visual glory‘.


Needless to say, this isn’t the first newsreader we’ve taken a look at. You might like to take another look at a couple of earlier MUO reviews. Dave 3 Ways To Use Google Reader As An Online Archive 3 Ways To Use Google Reader As An Online Archive Read More talked about some different ways to use Google Reader a few months ago. Karl Top 10 Most Downloaded RSS Reader Apps [Movers & Shakers] Top 10 Most Downloaded RSS Reader Apps [Movers & Shakers] Read More took a look at the most used readers, and Nancy Good Noows - The Best Alternative to Google Reader Good Noows - The Best Alternative to Google Reader Read More helped us through using Good Noows instead of GReader.

Getting onboard

I’m a big Google Reader user, so I was pleased to see that that the Feedlooks visual RSS reader was entirely web-based, and that it was happy to import my feeds from Google. There’s an export/import step in the middle, but it’s not too much of a problem. Beware that in the pre-beta world of Feedlooks, you might face some limitations as to the quantity of feeds they will let you bring in-house.

So, do what you do best. Provide an email address, create a password, answer the confirmation email, log in, and you’re feeding with class.

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visual rss reader

We’ll look at adding a feed manually in a minute, but in the meantime you have some sample feeds to take a look at, and we’re going to do that GReader import thing:

Click on Account in the toolbar, change the colour scheme if you’re of a mind, and then click Import/Export feeds.

visual rss

As we’re going to deal with Google Reader, take a look at the instructions, then click the link as indicated. Assuming you’re signed into the right account at Google (I wasn’t!) then you’ll be asked what you want to do with the google-reader-subscriptions.xml file. Save it somewhere locally, and then browse to it from the Feedlooks page. Click import, and you’ll get a confirmation that the file will be imported.

That’s going to take a little while, and the kind folks at Feedlooks will email you when it’s finished. More than that, in my email I was given a list of feeds that, quite legitimately, it didn’t want to add. Closed blogs and the like.

Add a feed

Meanwhile, back on the homepage, a small child waits”¦ no, hold on, that’s a Kiwi saying, you won’t understand. In fact a small plus (+) button waits. Click it, and we’ll go through the add process.

Go to a web page with a feed. Copy the URL for the feed, and head back to Feedlooks.

visual rss

The subscription itself is a little bit of an anti-climax. The box glows briefly, and the address disappears, ready for the next one. Back to the Home page.

Up and running

The pre-beta status of feedlooks means that you need to be prepared to put up with a few rough edges, and one of them is scrolling through a huge list of alphabetically sorted feeds, but eventually you can get to the one we want.

A couple of tips. You can click the title of each feed to hide the individual items in its list, but don’t click the X to the left of the title unless you wish to delete the feed. That’s a whole different matter.

visual rss

Click the title of a particular post to take a closer look. For instance, my PhotographyBB feed looks like this:

visual rss reader

And that’s the general philosophy. The way to achieve the full visual glory is to take the reader to the actual webpage, embedded in the feedlooks page. And it looks great.

Unfortunately, pre-betas mean that your mileage may vary. Probably the largest part of my RSS feeds are from Flickr. And as yet, that doesn’t work well because Flickr doesn’t allow embedding of their pages in other sites. There seems to be something of an issue with Feedburner as well.

Flickr feeds are probably going to be particularly difficult, especially if the simple visibility of GReader cannot be replicated for these.

You can do a whole bunch of other things in here. Help yourself to the menu, and go wild. You can export all the feeds again, so even if you change your mind, all is not lost.

Conclusion

it’s exciting. I really like where this is going. But I think it’s got a way to go. Is it cool? You bet. Is it ready? Not yet. Watch this space!

Take a look at this visual RSS reader yourself, and let me know what you think in the comments. I’m particularly interested to know how it copes with the sorts of feeds you have lots of.

  1. Feedlooks
    July 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Hi Ronen,

    Artur from Feedlooks here. I agree--Feedlooks is missing a feed organization feature. That has actually been a central request from our users.

    This feature is definitely prioritized in our development, and we should have something out soon.

    Thanks for your patience during this important test phase.

    -Artur (artur@feedlooks.com)

  2. Ronen Rozner
    July 4, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    The biggest advantage of Google reader for me right now is that i can arrange the feeds into folders by relevancy (linux related, tech related, and so on) and click on that folder to view all the NEW posts without having to go through each and every post. i have almost 50 subscriptions (and i know you guys have even more). going over one by one the Feedlooks way it too exhausting.

    • Feedlooks
      July 4, 2010 at 7:49 pm

      Hi Ronen,

      Artur from Feedlooks here. I agree--Feedlooks is missing a feed organization feature. That has actually been a central request from our users.

      This feature is definitely prioritized in our development, and we should have something out soon.

      Thanks for your patience during this important test phase.

      -Artur (artur@feedlooks.com)

    • Jim Henderson
      July 4, 2010 at 11:07 pm

      Yeah, and I think that's one of the reasons it needs a little more time yet.

  3. HPearce
    July 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I did an import from my google reader over 12 hours ago ... still no results

    • Jim Henderson
      July 3, 2010 at 10:47 pm

      Whoops. That doesn't sound too good. Any improvement since? If not, Artur kindly provided his email address above. You might be able to get some assistance there.

  4. Artur
    July 3, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Hi, Artur from Feedlooks here. Thanks for the review!

    Please don't hesitate to drop me a line at artur@feedlooks.com for feature requests, etc.

  5. Artur
    July 2, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Hi, Artur from Feedlooks here. Thanks for the review!

    Please don't hesitate to drop me a line at artur@feedlooks.com for feature requests, etc.

    • Jim Henderson
      July 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Artur. No problem. Hope things are going well.

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