Feedly is a new Firefox extension (it also works in Flock) that has received a lot of buzz over the last 24 hours among the first adopter set. The plugin turns services such as Google Reader into a sort of home page come dashboard.
Of the bat this would be one of the most aesthetically pleasing services I’ve seen in a while. The default Feedly view post install (it needs a browser reboot) is clean, functional and highly pleasing. Magazine style Feedly pulls your feed information from your favorite service or services (Google Reader, Bloglines and Netvibes are some choices), adds an image and gives you a choice of views. Cover offers feed categories with lists underneath, What’s New offers highlighted information, or you can go to categories directly.
Also built in is a range of social sharing tools. Users can star feeds and share them with others. In my case it pulled in my Google Reader friend contacts and allowed me to see their favorite feeds. Feedly also offers the ability to share, annotate, recommend and even email feeds, all from the one screen.
It’s great eyecandy and what’s not to like about it…but alas it’s not for me. Aesthetics doesn’t always equal functional, and if it did I would have switched back to Bloglines from Google Reader about 9 months ago. I’m a slow adopter with mission critical tools, and feed readers are one of the most important tools I use. I hit my category and I scroll down, taking in the full feed as I go on one page with a minimum of fuss, river of news style. Feedly is set up to be pretty, appealing, and will be a brilliant product in introducing people to the world of RSS feeds or even for those who don’t see RSS reading through the functional stare I do. This is My Yahoo 2.0 done really, really well. But it’s not for hardcore RSS consumers. Yet.