Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling
In a marketplace with many contenders companies such as Feedly, Flipboard, Digg and News360 need to differentiate themselves. I’ve had an experience today with Feedly where they might just have shown why they will do this.
I write a post yesterday about using Flipboard and Google Plus as a drop in replacement for Google Reader, on the post I cited Feedly as something I found to be to controlling, in so much as I don’t believe it gives me all the news, just the highlights.
I was contacted by a member of the Feedly team and asked for my feedback, which I did as requested:
You posted on my blog you’d like to know more about what I thought was controlling about Feedly?
So I thought I’d surmise my Feedly experience for you..
I’ve been using the Feedly service witching a desktop web browser linked to Google Reader from almost day 1. It’s a beautiful experience still no qualms there.
Same with the mobile version really, very early doors I installed first on my iPad then my Transformer prime.
Where services like yours excel is the ability to have the same news on different platforms (except WP8, which is a true shame) however we are now living in a post Reader world, and this is what is causing me problems. I hear tale of a drop in Reader replacement by you, digg and. Few others, however time is running short and I need a single place to hold my news content.
The lack of a non reader login system on Feedly is a problem, why? I could spend hours collating a news experience outside of Google Reader on my iPad, then head over to Feedly on my Android tablet and have to repeat the whole experience again..
Let me try to clarify. We are in the process of migrating feedly from the Google back end to a new feedly back end – we call that backend normandy. From the user perspective, this migration will be seamless: you will continue to authenticate using Google OAuth but at some point the experience will be powered using data coming from the feedly back end instead of the Google Reader back end. The same sync’ing, tagging, read tracking features will be provided by normandy.
I don’t have to do that with Flipboard, I have a Flipboard account, I login and its all there, not linked to Google Reader.
The feedly account is linked to a Google OAuth profile. We are just asking for permission to access Google Reader. When google reader is gone, you will use the same Google Account to access the normandy back end.
Then there is reading the content on Feedly, you do a great job in controlling today’s news, the latest news, what’s new.. I just get this continual feeling I’m not getting everything on the mobile platform, maybe that’s just my perception?
There was a bug in version 12 of the feedly mobile where some of the articles were not rendered by our layout engine. That problem has been fixed in the v14 update we pushed out yesterday. Except for the today section where we try to bubble up the most popular content in your feedly, all the other section are giving out access to your content.
Finally, and this is a personal thing.. I read on the London Underground, I use Flipboard because it actually caches more stories AND content, so not just the headlines, I don’t need the pictures, if I open up Feedly in a wifi/3G less zone sure I can use the read it later experience, if I don’t I get no content at all, on Flipboard I get a large amount of cached content..
Offline support is one of the top 3 most popular request. It will be a key part of feedly pro.
I work as a sysadmin for a security software company, so I know a bit about the pressures you are under right now, I’m sure behind the scenes you are working exceptionally hard on this product, maybe adding things like Google+ circles, Twitter and a login system are on your development plan.. I’m not a patient person, one service dies, I need to feed my OCD and get a replacement..
The current focus is to just keep up with the demand. Once that hyper growth phase is over, we are going to go back to listening to users. We have down a lot of that over the last 6 months. What we learned is that the feedly and flipboard use case are different. Feedly is used mainly by users in the context of their professional work (designers, writers, teachers, researchers, etc…) reading and sharing information they *need*. Flipboard seems to be more about casual reading/entertainment. So our focus going forward is going to be productivity and workflow optimization. Flipboard seems to be wanting to take some of the Pinterest magic. You should see the solutions diverge going forward.
Thanks for the detailed feedback. I hope this response clarifies a bit.
While I don’t necessarily agree with all of the reply, and the follow up citing figures (no good having more content, if the company with less has more quality content) what is evident is Feedly is a service on the offensive, one looking to be the new default news feeder. Customer interaction like this is a good thing.
Feedly is still short of my personal requirements, coming late to the party with Normandy, not supporting Windows Phone 8, and not yet having access to G+, Twitter or my other curated sources. However given time, a short amount, unless another brand trumps them they stand to do well.
What will however stand them in good stead is customer communication.. The BIGGEST thing missing for the competition..