First look at the new version of Genwi: Social RSS

Social RSS aggregator service Genwi will relaunch Tuesday with a range of new features. My walkthrough of the new service above.

At its core, Genwi is a RSS Reader. Users subscribe to feeds, creating a personal “wire.” Feeds can be added manually, or Genwi offers a range of suggested feeds that can be browsed by category, most subscribed to, or highest rated. When connecting with friends on Genwi, users are also offered their friends subscription list as well.

Feeds within Genwi are delivered river of news style in a similar fashion to Google Reader, although the initial view is via part feed. Users can only view a full feed when logged on, and this is a simple as clicking on the item. Notably though you can only view a full feed when subscribed to that feed, so website owners get more traffic from the main page, or if people want to view it via Genwi, they get new RSS subscribers.

The friend sharing comes in different levels. At the basic level you can share items with friends, and you can also swap feeds as well. Then it gets into FriendFeed territory, as you can also add external content (FriendFeed style) into your profile, and that data is then shared with friends within Genwi. Other social aspects include commenting, specific item sharing, and rating items.

My only negative comes with the look of the service; it demonstrates why coders should never be left alone with aesthetics, but it’s a minor draw back when considering the overall functionality of the site.

This continues to be an interesting space, and Genwi presses a lot of the right buttons. It’s fairly user friendly, therefore as a consumer level service it has a lot of potential. Power users and first adopters may find it a little simplistic at times, but it’s certainly still worth a look. The new Genwi goes live midday PDT July 8.