RSS is dead and Facebook and Twitter killed it! Or at least that’s what some web & trend-watching bloggers conclude from the demise of Bloglines, the once cutting-edge web-based feedreader. And indeed, people are increasingly discovering news items and memes through their friends’ status updates, re-tweeting or -sharing stuff they deem interesting. And yes Flipboard, which scans your Facebook & Twitter feeds for links (scraping content from the pages instead of using feeds, to the dismay of some publishers), is the talk of the iTown. Look ma, no RSS!
But hold your horses; do you know what the most requested feature for Flipboard is? Integration with Google Reader and the ability to include RSS-feeds is in high demand as well! And while we’re at it, Google Reader seems not to be doing too bad either, according to their own stats, probably because Reader -as opposed to Bloglines- continuous to evolve, integrating a slew of social features. Reader is also the primary source for Feedly, a popular browser add-on that offers a magazine-like view on subscribed feeds. And proving RSS is not dead yet, Automattic last week launched Subscriptions on wordpress.com, which displays your subscribed feeds in a stream-like fashion, including the writer’s profile picture and a ‘reblog’ and ‘like’ button (i.e. resembling what Peter Van Dijck proposed earlier that day).
Even if RSS-readers would ever become marginalized, RSS and similar standardized XML-based newsfeeds (think Atom) are indispensable to syndicate content from one site in another application. After all, how do you think news outlets and blogs feed their content into Twitter and Facebook in the first place?
Given the concerns about the enormous amount of data Google continuously collects about its users and because of the fact that their CEO seems to have a poor understanding of privacy (Schmidt stated “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”) and despite Google’s Jonathan Rosenberg recent manifesto on openness I decided to move some of my online activities away from the all-seeing eye of Google. After switching to scroogle.org for normal search, I now found an alternative for Google Reader as well in Tiny Tiny RSS.
Tiny Tiny RSS (or “tt-rss” for short) is an open source web application written in PHP with a PostgreSQL or MySQL database. The webapp is AJAX-based, multi-user and is offline-enabled using Google Gears (you can check out a demo here). There’s also a mobile version, a (deprecated) XML-RPC API and a brand new experimental JSON-API, which I’m playing around with, using XUI to write a minimal mobile version of my own.
For those who are not able to install and configure tt-rss or who don’t want to burden their server with it, developer Andrew Dolgov put up a hosted version (thanks Andrew!) where currently 8 more users can register.
After having switched about a week ago, I find I barely miss Google Reader, although tt-rss still feels a little rough around the edges at times. The only real limitation is that shared items (‘published’ in tt-rss) off course aren’t automagically shared with your Google friends. I now automatically import my tt-rss published articles and manually share those every few days in Reader. Because I wouldn’t want to disappoint my Google friends, now would I?
A quick list of the most frequently used sites on my mobile phone.
- gmail mobile: my “homepage”. attachments and images could be handled better, but still, a great mobile web-app.
- google reader mobile: too many blogs, too little time. reading up on my blogfeeds everywhere i can (and yes, that includes the loo)
- smartphone/pda version of bbc news; the beeb was one of the first to have a version for PDA’s and smartphone’s, still great stuff.
- deredactie mobile: I just love the mobile version of their awful “desktop-oriented” website. Guess they took a close look at the BBC’s mobile site, no? Anyway, it would be even greater if they added links to multimedia (i.e. not force-feed video as they do on their very-very-broadband-version) and if they optimized the color usage because the readability of the purple night-version is sub-optimal.
- facebook mobile: I never really liked Facebook, but I must admit I’ve found myself spending time on it on an almost daily basis. The mobile version is an important part of that usage pattern.
Less frequently used mobile sites include; Truvo’s yellow and white pages, Wapedia (as wikipedia doesn’t provide a mobile version, they should) and Linkedin mobile. And although the webkit-based nokia browser handles normal sites quite well, the only non-mobile-optimized site in my bookmarks is my blog’s dashboard.
And you, what sites do you visit on your IPhone, Blackberry or Nokia e71?