RSS is one of those web technologies that boomed many years ago but isn’t a top priority anymore. With the advent of widespread social networking, many users end up getting their updates through emails and site-specific news feeds. But for blogs, which are still on a popularity rise, RSS is one of the best ways to aggregate news updates.
News aggregators are often seen primarily for aggregating news–a feature that shouldn’t be a surprise based on the term. Sources like Google News, CNN, Yahoo, and more can be consolidated as a way to keep up on current events. But news aggregation doesn’t end there. Any blog on the web can be inputted into a news aggregator as long as they have a feed.
For web-based RSS aggregation, my go-to site is Google Reader. But just as some people prefer to use Outlook and Thunderbird instead of Gmail’s web interface, it may please you to use a desktop client instead of a web-based solution. For that, Omea Reader is one of the best on Windows.
Omea Reader has a lot of features. From the screenshot alone, you might be able to glimpse a ton of buttons and windows that can seem a little hectic for first-time users. But I assure you, you’ll pick it up in no time. I went from utterly confused to zipping on through in less than 15 minutes.
One thing I noticed is that Omea Reader really likes tabs. There are 3 levels of tabs, each controlling a different layer of the program: 1) workspaces, 2) resource types, and 3) navigation window controls. This tab system keeps everything organized and easy to find. At any given time, you’ll only be 3 clicks away from finding what you want.
If you think the interface looks a bit cramped, don’t worry. After stretching out the size or maximizing the window, it looks much cleaner and more spacious.
One benefit of Omea Reader is its built-in web browser. It’s not a unique feature by a longshot, but it’s definitely helpful when it comes to containing all of your blog-related activity within one program.
Click on a link in any RSS blog post and you’ll be able to browse it immediately. The address bar at the top allows you to navigate to other sites as you will and the Back button lets you return to your blog listing when you’re done.
Unfortunately, as much as Omea Reader loves its tabbed interface, you won’t be able to open multiple web browsing tabs. Maybe there’s an option I have to enable first, but I wasn’t able to find it.
The feature I most like about Omea Reader is its separation of a single account into multiple workspaces (if you so choose). Workspaces allow you to group certain blog feeds so that when you view a particular workspace, you only see the blogs associated with that workspace. You can think of workspaces as profiles, if you’d like.
One issue I have with most RSS aggregators is that I’ll have a single account and all of my blog feeds are tied to that particular account. If I want to have certain blogs for personal activity and other blogs related to work, I need to jump through hoops to keep them separate. And what if I want one blog for both Personal and Work?
Omea Reader’s workspaces let me do that easily. I can set up a Personal workspace and a Work workspace. My folder of game-related blogs can stay in Personal, while my writing-related blogs can be in both Personal and Work workspaces. So easy and so useful.
Omea Reader lets you customize the program to a certain extent. All the basic necessities are there, which is all you really need for something as one-dimensional as an RSS reader. Here are some other features of Omea Reader that might interest you:
- Search: Find specific information quickly with Omea Reader’s desktop search functionality.
- Manage Podcasts: Download podcasts directly through Omea, and keep them organized.
- Helpful Extras: Create Clippings – excerpts from larger documents that you can file, search, and link. Use an array of Flags to help you set priorities and remember to follow up. Tack your own free-form notes onto any resource with Annotations.
- Extensibility: Developers can extend and customize Omea Reader by writing plugins using the Omea Open API.
If you’re sick of using web-based RSS readers and looking for a desktop-based RSS solution, give Omea Reader a try. It has everything you need to keep up to date with your RSS feeds. Whether you like it or not, share your experience with Omea Reader in the comments!