From blogs and online newspapers to calendars and social networking sites, the internet is a constant flow of information directed straight at your already full brain. Luckily, everything offers an RSS feed these days, which means that keeping up with all of that information is simply a matter of staying on top of your subscriptions. On Wednesday you nominated your favourite RSS newsreaders, and over 400 comments later, we’re back with your favourites. Hit the jump to see if your newsreader of choice made the list, and then cast your ballot to choose the newsreader to rule them all.
Google Reader (Web-Based)
Ever since Google launched the updated Google Reader toward the end of 2006, users have flocked to it for its impressive speed and usability. The most obvious benefit of an online reader like Google Reader is that no matter whose computer you’re using, you can access your feeds from the same interface, with the same items read, unread, starred, and tagged, as long as you’ve got a browser handy. Aside from that, Google Reader really gains loyalty with its robust keyboard shortcuts, search, and tagging features. If you’re using Google Reader but you haven’t yet taken advantage of all it has to offer, it might be time you got good with Google Reader.
Primarily a start page, web site Netvibes can pull any RSS feed into the site’s wildly customisable interface. According to many Netvibes users, the main drawback of the webapp as a feedreader is that it’s not the most accommodating for a high volume of feeds; luckily, the site’s customisability, abundance of useful widgets, and good looks overcome what it lacks in scalability as an RSS reader. (If you’re just dipping your toes into the Netvibes water, check out several ways you can trick out your Netvibes setup.)
NetNewsWire (Mac OS X)
The free, Mac-only NetNewsWire is the first on our list that separates your feeds from the web and downloads them directly to your desktop. That means faster performance and better feed handling offline than its web-based counterparts. One of NetNewsWire’s best and most unique features is its Smart List feature, which works like iTunes’ Smart Playlists: it creates special watches for important topics or authors you don’t want to miss. The downside of many desktop readers is that there’s no online access, but NetNewsWire syncs with the online newsreader, Newsgator, and back again, so you’re never without your feeds if you’ve got a browser.
The freeware, Windows-only FeedDemon, also from Newsgator, is the Windows counterpart to NetNewsWire. Both sync with Newsgator’s online interface and, if need be, with each other. Beyond that, they’re two very different newsreaders, and FeedDemon has its own set of saucy features—like newspaper format and “shared experience”—that add an impressive feature set not available in any other reader.
Firefox extension Sage transforms everyone’s favourite browser into a lightweight newsreader, complete with all the vital features you’d expect out of a solid reader. Those who prefer Sage love it for its seamless integration with Firefox (after all, you don’t need to open another application to read your feeds) and desktop-quality performance.
Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to cast your vote for the best of the best:
Let’s hear more about what makes your favourite newsreader so great—whether it made the Hive Five or not—in the comments.