Until recently I used google homepage for my daily RSS feed consume. As I use google very frequently it made perfect sense to me to start using the google homepage option and get informed about the RSS changes every time I visit google to search something. So I started adding feeds to my google homepage and customize it by adding tabs to it for different types of feeds to get them ordered a bit. Just recently I discovered that the tabs are limited to six tabs only. That was the first thing that bothered me as I tried to add only as many feeds on a page as I can view on a single screen, which normally breaks down to six. So with this I'm limited to 36 feeds. Hmm not bad, but I need more ;-). The second thing that made me think about google homepage is that every time I call google.com the page needs a long time to load, as it tries to load all the feeds. This is a pain in the ass if you just want to run a search quickly and haven't opened a tab with the google homepage permanently (which I rarely do).
And then I just stumbled over netvibes.com,
again. It happened just a year ago that I had a short look at these kind of websites
[Pageflakes.com is another one].
But last year I didn't feel that I am in the need to use such website to satisfy my
RSS needs. It seems that google homepage slowly changed my behavior in using RSS feeds.
At first I added only a few of them and it incrementally became more and more. And now
I am with netvibes. Actually I haven't used a feed reader, because I'm lazy and don't like to open
another program just to check other websites. I'd like to have everything in the
browser. OK I know there are some really nice online RSS reader, but I didn't liked them
for reasons I vaguely remember now (maybe they were to slow, not convenient enough or just not user friendly). The only thing I need is just
to be informed when something changed on a website and then visit the site directly.
This is why I liked google homepage. Just the linked title of the entry and that's it. Simple and
So but from now on netvibes is my new RSS aggregator. I'm not limited to six tabs. It shows me the number of new items in each tab and for each feed. I can decide how to view the feeds. I can either let them show only the title or the title with a short summary. I can even more decide if I want to read the entry in the internal feed reader or directly jump to the site. This is particular helpful for RSS feeds, which don't embed the full text in the RSS feed. If they have the full text, the netvibes RSS reader can even display all RSS entries within one single page, which is very handy. I haven't played with all the gadget's on the site yet, but it already fulfills my information needs at the moment perfectly.
As I started using that sort of aggregator more and more I also became aware of how that might change my complete web usage behavior. I'm almost consume all my information and content from the RSS feeds, which I check several times a day. From time to time I add new feeds. Earlier it happened that I visited all relevant news sites directly, but now when it isn't in my overview is not checked at all. There are several discussions about this change going on in the web and as always Europe and particular Germany seems to lack behind it again. It will be interesting to see how big news sites will handle this, when more and more people use that kind of reader and don't visit their sites anymore. RSS feed advertisement is one partial solution. Another problem will be how calculate and identify your readership. I already wrote about the pageview issue here.
Summary of my RSS usage history (which is a little bit obscure):
- Integration external feeds in my own website (digideep.com)
- Use of live bookmarks with Firefox
- Google Homepages