Bloglines just haven’t been listening to their users like all good web 2.0 companies do…maybe they are concentrating on delivery and quality of results, because we hear they are developing a blog engine based on the feed sources from all Bloglines users subscriptions, I wonder how they will sort out native feeds from re-mixed feeds…anyhow they are due for some new features.
I wrote a Bloglines Wishlist a while back and trackbacked Read/Write Web’s post about Bloglines feature requests that apparently the people at Bloglines would view, isn’t that what the Bloglines Forum is for…hmm.
- feed information “i” for each feed
- subscriptions are organised in tags, so a feed can appear in multiple tags
(you only have to read a feed once, and it will unbold wherever else it appears)
- the whole account and every tag can be read as a river of news
- searching and adding feeds is quick and simple, as well as searching tags
- tag cloud for feeds and stories (your account, contacts, all users)…also see all popular feeds or by tag (your account, contacts, all users)
- read items are in dark red, new items are in bright red
(you can also choose to just see unread items…also you can change this in the settings to only see unread items)
(you can also change the settings so a subscription is marked as read as soon as you click on it (like Bloglines), in Rojo this doesn’t work when you are reading a river of news, it only automatically “Marks as Read” when you are reading a single subscription/feed)
- the whole account and every tag has a spliced feed
(this also applies to stories, “Tags” section…like Newsgator Online have for their clippings folders).
- flagged folder
- instant collapse/expand of items
- each item has a permalink (so you can save an item, and also point to it when sharing)
- scriplets enable you to re-syndicate the latest content from your recent, tagged, flagged, or shared stories
- sort subscriptions by name, tags, unread, frequently read (attention data)
- Explore section collates Most Read Stories, Recently Tagged Stories, Most Read Feeds, and Frequent Tags (for stories)…by me, contacts, or all users
- “Tags” section shows feeds tagged by all users for a given tag sorted by date or popularity, so this is most read feeds in Rojo (categorised by tag)…you can also do this for contacts, ie. your immediate social circle
- recommended links (what your feeds are linking to)…also at the tag level
…it says recommended links from the last 7 days, not sure how results are sorted, when I was looking at my recommended links, one of the items was the Bloglines homepage. From all my subscriptions the Bloglines homepage was linked to 7 times in the last 7 days, shouldn’t this rank higher than a website that has been linked to less than 7 times.
So this is kind of my social attention data, what people in my OPML are linking to…not what are the most popular posts in my OPML (based on incoming links from the blogosphere), but what are the most popular websites people are linking to (outgoing links)…see Chuquet (this engine is based on a bunch of feeds, but you aren’t reading the posts from these feeds, you are reading what they are linking to, maybe in the future we will be able to put our own feeds in).
…although, I would like to sort items from my OPML by popularity, see next section.
- What about, what are the most popular tags aggregated from each item in my account, this is also social attention data…this way I can roughly see what are the most discussed topics in my OPML, ie. sort every post in my Rojo by the tags people use in their posts
- Incoming links for each item is covered by Feedflare, but what about Related Links (similar), a la Memeorandum, Google News…this must be based on some sort of text analysis in the title…is this what Waypath Related does?….Clippr (a prototype RSS Reader) plans to offer this, also auto tagging posts.
- Some more social data is via the Information link next to each feed the “i” icon, (giving me an error page at the moment), according to the FAQ the Related Feeds feature recommends feeds based on your subscriptions…it gets these feeds from the blogroll of your subscriptions or from sites they point to in their posts.
Even more social data is that you can manually discover feeds based on others using the same tags as you do for your subscriptions, same goes with stories (all users or your contacts)…this is possible as Rojo choose to aggregate their user data to provide a feed folksonomy, and a social bookmark folksonomy
…for each tag (stories) it shows related tags.
- sort subscriptions by frequently read, like Chameleon for Bloglines.
(although this doesn’t cover blogs you really like that you don’t read often as they don’t post often…voting for each item like in Blogofy, and HyperSuper is a step to more accurate attention data…only these 2 services are not personalised RSS Readers of yet).
- river of news of whole account sorted by relevancy
(stories most likely to be interesting to you are listed first…how do they work this out?
This is an option to prioritise items based on your previous reading behaviour, like the belated SearchFox…Attensa also prioritises your items this way and also recommends new feeds, what about new items?
…there is also PersonalBee, items are presented in a machine tag cloud, with unknown topics bubbling to the top…a similar service is TagCloud (this is more straight text analysis, also this isn’t an RSS Reader)
…these services are not based on reading behaviour, they are word bursts.
…see this great post on Attention stream data.
I’d also like to sort by authority…this would be good if you haven’t read Rojo for a week, you would be able to see all new posts in your account ordered by how popular they are in the blogosphere (maybe based on Technorati Link Cosmos)…and limit these cosmos links coming from blogs only blogs in your OPML, or your contacts’ OPML’s as well.
- as mentioned previously it has recommended links, which is an aggregation of the outgoing links from all the posts in your OPML (you’d think this would be ranked by the website with the most referrals as the top item, not sure if there is any ranking or it is date sorted)
This is similar to how SharpReader does threading (but presenting the data in another way), if you are reading a post which has a link in it, and that same link has been mentioned before in a past/present post in your RSS reader, then it will thread them…in essence it says, “Look at this past/present post, it also refers to this same link as the post you are looking at now.”
Rojo presents this information in a different way, the recommended links section lists the actual outgoing link, and next to each link tells you which post it was featured in…it would be good to also have the SharpReader threading style as when reading the present post it may be handy reading a read or unread post that has referred to the same link.
BlogBridge have asked their audience if they would like this feature, and the post has a concise explanation:
“What are related articles? The simplest definition would be that they have one or more links in common. One could imagine more elaborate notions of related article, but that would be a good start.”
Jack Vinson from the CWH has a post on why it is so handy and automated…I really think this should be an essential feature in the new wave of RSS Readers to come
…I also like the SharpReader notifier.
So I’m not sure if Recommended Links is an appropriate name, maybe Common Links is better, Recommended Links sounds like it tracks your reading behaviour, and also based on your subscriptions, recommends other articles, just like Findory.
- It also has Feed Recommendation (these are small boxes that pop up in your account), similar to how Findory Recommends not only stories, but feeds as well…also see UltraGleeper (Bloglines also offers this feature).
Attention data can be made up of what items you click on, how long you read them, what items you flag, what items you save…this can be a basis to recommend link or blogs…Rojo also has the benefit that it is a social bookmark folksonomy, so like del.icio.us it could recommmend links based on others in the Rojo community…if another Rojo user has saved or flagged the same item as you, maybe other items under the tag they have saved that item in may be of interest to you.
Not sure how TailRank recommend items…but then again this isn’t a personal RSS Reader…but it might just answer a question by D. Weinberger:
“I’d like to find examples of sites/services that aggregate and filter news and posts by using your social network as a filter. That is, you can tell the service (implicitly or explicitly) that it should use what your friends find interesting as a guide to guessing what you’ll find interesting.”.
Once you upload your OPML file to TailRank they must see what feeds you have in common with other OPML’s and use that as a basis to recommended new feeds, and new items.
In the “Shared” section it states that the Recommended Links can be influenced and refined by what your contacts are reading
…I don’t get it isn’t this just a list of outgoing links from your blogroll, this seems to allude to a Findory type thing where blogs or posts from the blogosphere are recommended to you according to your reading behaviour, but it is based on your contacts rather than the blogosphere.
This would be great, this is truly recommended links, “based on your reading behaviour here are some suggested posts from the blogosphere”, or based on your contacts, or based on your OPML, or even based on other OPML’s that have feeds in common with your OPML.
As mentioned before del.icio.us does this to a degree as it offers related tags, based on tags used by others who bookmark the same item, you may find items in these tags interesting…it also recommends links (not sure how this is achieved).
…back to Rojo
- if I change the settings to view all items as read automatically (NOTE: doesn’t work for reading feeds by tag, ie. a river of news), there is no way for me to decide to keep these items unread as on second thought I don’t have time to read them…there is only a link that says “Mark as Read”, why is this there if I have set this to automatically happen, it should offer the option to “Mark as Unread”. (I guess it is still there if you read are reading as a river of news, for reasons mentioned above).
- if I choose to collapse/expand an item, it considers this as read, this doesn’t happen when you choose the bulk expand/collapse link.
I see the point in that you can mark a single item as read and you can choose to leave the rest of the items as unread, but I think this does more damage than help, because you may accidentally collapse/expand an item, then there is no way to revert this item to an unread status, it’s too late.
I suppose you can just flag it, or save it, or just choose Read and Unread items in your feed, or even go to the “Stories I’ve Read” section.
- slower than Bloglines
- you can rename feeds in the Manage Feeds section by clicking on the name (it is hard to realise you can do this)
- you can rename tags by using Advanced Features in the Manage Feeds section, but what about if I want to change heaps of feeds with a new tag, a check box would be easy instead of manually tagging each feed
- can’t sort folders/tags manually (this is important for me)
- can’t sort feeds within a folder/tag manually (this is important for me)
- Information page for each feed isn’t working at the moment (similar to Bloglines it lists the number of Rojo users who have subscribed to that feed…handy)
- The Saved section could really be called “Flagged” just to keep inline with the terminology, and keep in mind if you give a flagged story a name it will also appear in your “Tags” section…this is great, you can view stories you have tagged by you, your contacts, all users (or keep them private).
- Something you need to be aware of is that in the “Saved (Flagged)” section there is a link called “Stories I’ve Read”. What this means is that in this space it keeps all the stories (from all your subscriptions) you have collapsed/expanded, clicked on the title, tagged, flagged, emailed or shared.
If you click on “Mark as Read” for the whole page you are viewing these stories WILL NOT appear in the “Stories I’ve Read” section…same goes if you collapse/expand all stories.
I guess this is a good section to quickly find stuff you have read before, instead of slogging through all your past posts in your folder or feeds, or using the search box (Rojo doesn’t have one).
Sorted by relevancy must work based on the “Stories I’ve Read” feature, as these are specific stories you have interacted with, it can’t possibly work with the “Mark as Read” feature as you do this most of the time or even automatically, and that would mean all stories ever are relevant. What would also be good is track stories I ignore, I suppose this happens by default.
The only problem I see is when I collapse/expand a story, I don’t like that this is considered read, and goes in my “Stories I’ve Read” section, which will then be part of my relevancy…why…just because I click on collapse/expand doesn’t mean I like the story, same goes with clicking on the title…if all I see is an excerpt I’ll click to the native site, sometimes I don’t like what I see, so I don’t want this part of my relevancy…voting/rating is a much explicit way.
- firstly I’d like an email alert or RSS feed to track the Forums
- comments field for bookmarks
- notepad (wikipad), like Gritwire
- tag notes, like Simpy
- a search box
(search whole of Rojo, contacts, your account, tag, feed…same goes with stories)
- create search feeds from your subscriptions, as well as contacts, the whole of Rojo (at the all,tag, or feed level)
- create search feeds from all stories (and by tag) for all users, contacts
- public version of your account, like Bloglines, this public version would have a spliced feed and an OPML URL…maybe it doesn’t have to be your whole account, but a selection of tags…maybe you could make different pages, each based on a tag (like a Newsmastering module…why not add processing, ie. remixing feeds while we are there)
- it has an RSS feed for tagged stories and for tagged feeds, what about for shared stories as well
- reading a feed from oldest to newest posts, it is default the other way around, Bloglines has this option
- I’d really like some hot key navigation like Bloglines, I’m addicted to using that, and I miss it already…the only one I know is that if you hold SHIFT-CTRL and click on “Mark as Read” it opens a new window for the page to reload, so you can keep going on the old window.
- OPML for each tag (these would be Reading Lists, as long as each OPML had a URL)…or even select feeds or tags to make an OPML on the fly.
- Spliced feeds and Reading Lists (OPML) for the feed folksonomy, also sorted by popular version
- Be able to use Reading Lists, like BlogBridge
- a feed for Flagged Stories, Stories I’ve Shared, Stories I’ve Read
- OPML URL for your Tagged and Flagged sections so you can package people a heap of links around a topic, del.icio.us also needs this type of feature (NOTE: this is not a Reading List as the items are not feeds, they are just normal links).
- for each tag (stories) it shows related tags, what about common tags, or even recommended URL’s
- for each tag (feeds) it doesn’t show related tags, or common tags, but it does recommend feeds
- Comment API, like RSS Bandit…Feedflare allows you to view comments of a post, this launches to the native site where you can read the comments and also leave a comment, but what if when you click on the comment link in Feedflare it would show a box of all the comments, and let you write a comment from within Rojo.
- It would also be good if Feedflare would let you see view all the incoming links from within the RSS reader, otherwise Rojo could offer this feature
- right click menu for easy subscription
- blogthis link to open a new blog post, like this Bloglines hack..actually I have a bookmarklet for Wordpress called “Press It”, if I could get a right-click version for this then my problem is solved
- notifier for the systems tray, like SharpReader
- threading URL’s, like SharpReader
- homepage links for each story…these go to the feedID in Rojo where you can see all posts for this feed, but what about the homepage of the native site
See the Bloglines Wishlist for more features that aren’t already part of Rojo.
This review has been heavy on suggestions, but once I start it becomes an ultimate aggregator post.
Rojo has many more features, social feed folksonomy, social bookmark folksonomy, contacts, sharing, etc…I think it’s the best RSS reader to date: it covers social and personal attention, and discovery and recommendation, the next thing I would like to see is a conversational threading feature.
The most important part is to be able to read feeds other than by date, that’s why I like the most frequently read feature, or the relevance feature (based on my reading behaviour)…all this does is rank the relevance of the sorting of new items…something else I would like to see is also ranking by popularity (incoming links) based on the blogosphere or just my OPML…see OPML Sampler.
Other methods are by wordbursts arranged in a tagcloud, or posts sorted by tags people use in their posts.
Some more are filtering feed, tag/s, or whole account for a term or filtering out terms…or like Rojo does, view items that posts in my feed point to, so this option is to not read your feeds at all, but read posts or websites they point to (also see Chuquet).
Recap on reading options
- frequently read
- relevance (reading behaviour)
- popularity (incoming links)
- word bursts (text analysis)
- aggregated post tags
- filter in/out terms
- outgoing links view
Other web-based RSS Readers
Other desktop RSS Readers
SharpReader (has sub-folders)
RSS bandit (threads like SharpReader)
Feeddemon (good stuff)
Blogbridge (most advanced yet)
GreatNews (filter each feed for a term)…not sure if this applies at the tag level or whole account.
Other Rojo posts
See Rojo digs Mojo.