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Why Feedly is the best app ever

Why Feedly is the best app ever

A few weeks ago, my friend and colleague Scott Adam Gordon professed his love for Spotify. His paean was heartfelt and tender. I admired his words so much that I thought it high time I offered a similar ode to my Spotify, that is, Feedly. Like an eternal puppy, Feedly is an endless well of pleasure, surprises and love. Here's why I think Feedly is the best app ever.

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Feedly is a portal to a better internet. / © ANDROIDPIT

What is Feedly?

Feedly is an app that gathers together RSS feeds and translates them into a web magazine.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. These feeds publish updates made, or new content uploaded, to websites. These feeds can be gathered together and presented through a feed reader, which is what Feedly is.

The app presents headlines, introductory paragraphs and images (depending on the display option you choose) that you can scroll through. By pressing on an article of interest, you can read the entire text.

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Group your feeds by categories. / © ANDROIDPIT

Sounds simple. What's so great?

It is simple, which is partly the appeal. The best apps, in my opinion, are those that complete a simple task extremely well. Feedly is one such app. By aggregating so much content, spread across so many sites, I'm saved a whole load of time, and I've got a constant, concentrated source of interesting, relevant reading material.

Is that it?

Nope. Let's get analytical.

The internet, once upon a time, was an unparalleled source of amazement and wonder. There were these blogs, forums and communities where people posted things that you would never, ever have had the chance to read or see before: ideas from ordinary people, just like you, half a world away; new ideas from great thinkers a hundred miles away; ideas from loads of people, all over the place. People were sharing in communities that fostered the weird and creative, gave comfort and understanding to the isolated

Then the internet swelled to enormity, became a monstrous thing beyond all comprehension. The seething mass threatened self collapse. Interesting material was sunk below a deluge of nonsense. The kind weirdos were threatened, to the point of extinction, by trolls and the worst sides of humanity, bred beyond a veil anonymity. It seemed impossible, or, at least, far from worthwhile, to trawl through the sludge to find interesting, intelligent conversations.

facebook world map 1
The internet is big, confusing, and sometimes a little scary.. / © Facebook

Oh, hey there, Feedly!

Out of the confusion, Feedly lets me curate my own internet. I choose the sites that I enjoy reading, add them into a folder (say, news or technology) and I have constantly updated source of interesting reading material. And, generally, if you enjoy reading material from a certain site, like-minded people do, too. So you can engage with them in the comments, in the forums. And so communities, like those in the edenic early days of the internet, are discovered, buried, safe.

Since I started using Feedly several years ago, I've read more, learnt more, been led on more serendipitous adventures, explored more ideas. In short, my life has been immeasurably enriched.

Some actual discussion of the app itself

So Feedly is an RSS feed reader that makes me love the internet again. But let's take a look at some of the actual features it has, too. 

To counter the crazed positivity, I would like to say that there is one feature Feedly lacks. It has this algorithm that measure stories' popularity, or 'hotness'. This is great. I like it. But I can't sort stories via this ranking. The indicator just appears besides the stories, which are sorted chronologically. If I'm on my computer, it's okay: there's a Chrome extension, Sortly, that does exactly what I'm talking about. But no such thing exists for the Android app, as far as I'm aware. Returning after a rare spell away from Feedly, it would be nice to be able to quickly catch up by scanning the most popular articles of the past week or two.

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Sadly, there is no option to sort by popularity. / © ANDROIDPIT

With this niggling complaint out of the way, let the acclaim train roll on.

I can group different subjects together however I like. I don't care if one blog has the hashtag #art and another #philosophy, I think they cover the same ground, so I put them in the same folder. And you can search by hashtags. Got a few hours to kill? throw a hashtag into Feedly and get exploring. Like a site? Add it to your feed.

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A simple hashtag results in hours of discovery. / © ANDROIDPIT

It's not just a way to compile your favorite blogs; it's a way to explore new horizons and learn about things you might otherwise overlook.

Then there's the share button, hardly unusual in an Android app, but it means I can easily throw an article into Pocket if I don't have time to read it right away. I can share an article with a friend who I think would enjoy it. And thus technology lets us learn and bathe in the warm waters of shared human experience. Isn't that what it's supposed to be about? Yes, it is. Thanks, Feedly.

Do you use Feedly? Do you adore it? Would you kill for it? Let me know in the comments.

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  • I've had freely since 2012 it's great to have Lolz

  • Yip, same here, Feedly is something I use daily, kind of like feeding your mouth, feedly feeds your mind

  • I love that I can swipe to navigate through the articles. It makes the browsing experience super smooth. Other RSS apps don't do it or do it poorly.

  •   1
    Deactivated Account Apr 14, 2016 Link to comment

    I made the switch to Feedly after Google killed Reader and haven't looked back. I'm subscribed to about 200 sites (I read a *lot* of webcomics), something that I don't think I could ever manage with just bookmarks, and Feedly has been by far the easiest and cleanest way to navigate through all of them.

  • Hoss Apr 14, 2016 Link to comment

    Feedly Experience: 3 years
    What I Like: quick viewing of categorized recent top articles from blogs i follow

    My Major Issue:
    it only allows you to read the first few lines of an article and forces you to click to their site to read the rest. this seems, to me, to defeat the purpose of being able to scroll through and quickly read articles all in one spot. this was not always the case with feedly, but this change happend about 2 years ago, and im confused as to why?

    •   1
      Deactivated Account Apr 14, 2016 Link to comment

      This isn't actually Feedly's fault, it has to do with the way the RSS feed you are subscribed to is configured. Over the last few years, many websites have changed their RSS configuration from full articles to summaries because they don't make advertising money if you don't click through.

      • Hoss Apr 14, 2016 Link to comment

        ah ok, thanks Mike, i didnt realize that.
        i guess its androipit.com's fault then that i can't just read their articles...lol
        makes sense...if they don't get paid, they cant afford to write...then we all lose.

        i basically now use feedly to view potentially interesting articles, and just open them in new tabs--but i wish there was a way to let the writeres profit, and RSS still let me avoid having to leave the feedly site.

  • I love feedly app. I am using since last 1 year. This app is the best app.

  • Amoun Apr 14, 2016 Link to comment

    Yep, feedly is the best app, and platform for news, u can filter and chose any this to follow and need to know, the app are very fast, and usefull,
    thank you

  • I much prefer "FeedMe"

  • I love RSS feeds. Feedly is a good app, but a better RSS reader is Inoreader, particularly now that they have updated their android app

  • I love Feedly too. It's the app I spend more time using. Actually, I am right now reading Android Pit via Feedly 😊

  • I use FlipBoard, Google News and Weather and a Canadian Business aggregator but mainly just the apps for content sites I'm interested in reading, along with Spotify and Stitcher for audio. (Unfortunately TechMeme doesn't have an Android app.)

    The regrettable problem with Feedly is not anything about the app, which is no doubt very good, but with RSS, that has been discontinued by a lot of content providers after Google killed its own service. On my PCs I bookmark My Yahoo as a perfectly adequate RSS source for photography, art and other material I want on big screen, but RSS just isn't what it used to be.

  • I tried using feed apps (Flipboard) a few years ago, but to be honest struggled to see what it did that a halfway-organised bookmark folder didn't. Maybe that's my failing. Maybe I should've explored beyond my handful of favourite sites. But, as you say, 'interesting material was sunk below a deluge of nonsense'.

    Edit: case in point - my old Flipboard account is still active on my phone, and it's full of Esquire magazine blabbering on about gonorrhea and that fool Ricky Gervais. Both articles, somehow, are listed under the 'food and drink' category that I follow. It's looks like there's no escape from the 'deluge of nonsense' on Flipboard. How's Feedly for that kind of thing?

  • Looks like you love Feeds, not Feedly....actually Feedly app sucks a lot.

  • Don't understand what's the big deal.

  • I completely agree. Being able to find all of that information in one spot is fantastic. My most used app. Cant imagine trying to keep up with all the blogs (including this one) I follow without it.

  • I love Feedly too. It's great in Chrome and in the app.

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