With the demise of Google Reader, we’ve been on a constant mission of trying to find a better way to consume content online. There have been a few options that are something of an anti-RSS reader – they serve the same purpose of an RSS reader, but do so in a very different way. Joining the ranks of these ‘anti-RSS readers’ like Flipboard, Zite and Prismatic, is Nextly.
Nextly makes it possible to consume content from Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and a variety of major news outlets, websites and more. The site places a ton of content at your fingertips, in an elegant and user-friendly interface. Nextly brings something of a TV channel experience to your web-browsing. You can switch between channels (or streams) based on the source or the topic, and simply skip from one article to the next.
After logging in either with Twitter or Facebook (which you have to do in order to sign up for a Nextly account), you’ll instantly be presented with your social media feed, available in a slick easy to navigate interface. There are two main ways to navigate your Nextly account. A bar at the top of the page features the original tweets or Facebook posts, while the article linked in those posts will be displayed in its original layout directly beneath that bar.
A menu on the left hand side of the page gives you access to your main social media streams – including your Facebook feed, your Twitter feed and your Twitter lists. These are all listed under your ‘Favourite streams’. The next section available from the menu is your ‘Bookmarks’ – in other words links that you save within Nextly itself. And lastly, as far as content is concerned, you have a tab to explore other streams available through Nextly. This section gives you access to a variety of sources, divided by topical categories: news, tech, humour, gossip and more. It also includes a Reddit stream featuring 12 popular sub-reddits.
You can save or bookmark individual links which will then be accessible from the menu on the left, or you can share them via Facebook, Twitter or email.
Nextly makes it easy to navigate quickly from one article to the next using the arrow keys on your keyboard – a much appreciated feature since keyboard shortcuts are often a handy way of powering through a lot of content.
But that’s not the only thing we like about Nextly. When trying to handle the information overload coming in from social networks, websites, and our RSS readers, Nextly does a great job of making that abundance of content manageable. For starters – it can be a one-stop shop for a ton of different kinds of content coming from different places. Not only does it bring together two popular social networks by giving you access to your Facebook and Twitter streams, it also has the added benefit of bringing in content from popular websites from around the Web. Including Reddit as a category on its own was definitely a smart move on Nextly’s part as well.
That said, there are a few features we wouldn’t mind seeing added to Nextly. While we appreciate the fact that it’s incredibly easy to dive into a ton of different sources that have been chosen for us (and in that sense make it easy to discover new and interesting sources) – it would be great to be able to add websites of our choice to our stream. There may be sites I’m interested in following, but don’t necessarily keep up with them through Twitter or Facebook. Without that option, it becomes hard to choose Nextly in favour of other anti-RSS readers like Flipboard, for example.
Another way that Nextly can really come in handy is simply using it as a way to harness the power of Twitter lists. We’ve already taken an in-depth look at how Twitter lists could serve as a Google Reader alternative, and Nextly is a service that plays right into that concept. By instantly displaying the article as your scrolling through the tweets, you can tell at a glance if it’s something you’re interested in reading, you can save it for later, or you can read it and share immediately – all from within Nextly.
The sharing feature is another essential ingredient to making Nextly the ultimate way to consumer information, since not only can you power through the content, you can also decide to share it with your friends and followers on the spot.
What do you think of Nextly? Is it a viable alternative to Google Reader? Let us know in the comments.