4 Fast Feed Readers that Handles Lots of Feeds without Slowing Down

4 Fast Feed Readers that Handles Lots of Feeds without Slowing Down

Feedly Logo and iPhone App Design

Feedly Logo and iPhone App Design (Photo credit: imjustcreative)

Image via CrunchBase

I used to make posts like this all the time. Lists of software to do things. Lately, after moving from computer to computer more often, I have started limited the software I have used and writing scripts to do simple jobs in Python so I don’t have to install software for one thing and have it sit on my hard drive forever. But there are some tools I still would rather have someone else go through the trouble of writing software to get things to work right.

And the over 2000 feeds I subscribe to I would rather have someone else handle. And I have trimmed down those feeds. The list just grew as I trimmed them down. And no, I don’t read everything. I tried to glance at least at all the headlines every day, to see if something caught my eyes, but that was craziness that only lasted a week or so. You eventually have to do something other than read other blogs.

So now I just carry the feeds around with the hope that some day on some far off distant planet someone will make sense of it all and bring the most important posts to me and they will be to my liking.

The last post on feed readers I wrote was when I was on a hunt for something to replace a browser-based feed reader. I had 700 feeds then and Google Reader slowed way down. I have stuck with Google Reader. In fact, all the other readers listed here use my Google Reader account, in different ways.

Google Reader

After I found Feedly, I never really went back to Google Reader. I have an account which my other readers use all the time. I just don’t go there much. I had to login in today to get a count of my feeds. I actually thought I had closer to 3000.

And I happened upon the trends tool there, that seems pretty useful, though I only had time to play a bit. Because I started out this section on Google Reader trying to say that Google is the machinery when it comes to my feed readers and then I found the toys.

my6sense

I wish there was a desktop or web version of this software that had the same features as the Android App. But I would have to say this is my most used Android App and has kept me updated with news when my computers became all work and no reading feeds for a while. It was too distracting. But the phone app plugs into your Facebook, your Twitter and your Google Reader accounts and uses an algorithm based on popularity, what you click, what you share, etc. to filter your posts.

And I was skeptical at first but it works well. One of the feeds that comes up in my6sense pretty often is listed as one of the most obscure in the Trends section of Google Reader. And I read many of the posts when they come up. A pure popularity based system would never bring these posts up.

Feedly

Feedly I have used for a long time. I use Chrome as my main browser now and it’s a plugin. They also have a Firefox plugin, Safari plugin, Android App and Firefox App. But I only use the Chrome plugin. Feedly ran really slow on my older Android and I gave up. my6sense worked better for me, because on the phone, pretty is nice, but I would rather have fast.

But in the browser, Feedly is the best. I no longer add feeds directly to Google Reader, because I find them through Feedly based off of other feeds I read. It is the fastest reader I have seen so far. And it breaks my feed categories up into block on the front page like a newspaper, so I can read two or three popular posts out of each category without clicking around or wasting much time.

FeedDemon

This software has been around for a while, but got a recent update. It is still fast as hell at parsing this many feeds from Google Reader. And this reader gives me a chance to dig deeper into the feeds I subscribe to and set various filters by date and by keyword to find specific posts that won’t be high on the popularity charts but still contain information I am looking for.

And I am paranoid about getting stuck in only a stream of popular posts and missing out on hidden gems. Or that my fluctuating interests when it comes to reading material may bury some topics in smart readers where I will never find them again. During the Panda/Penguin Google updates, I clicked on a few posts about the update and for a while there, my6sense gave me way too many posts on the same topic, like I had opened the flood gates on Panda posts and couldn’t stop it.

And I would like to make an honorable mention of RSSOwl. If you have a list of feeds somewhere less than my 2000 or so, it should work out fine for you. In fact it had a few features that the others don’t, like the ability to remove duplicate feeds. It also plugged in to Google Reader. But I had an issue with memory and having it crash while parsing that many feeds. I even hacked the configuration file to give it more memory and it still had issues. But when it worked, it was great and I would recommend it also.

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Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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