by CI Staff
News aggregator app for iPhone and iPad.
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If you rely on public transportation to get to and from work, you may use that free time to browse the latest news headlines during the commute. Instead of having to go to several different sites for news and celebrity gossip, there are a number of news aggregators out there that allow you to tag your favorite sites and access news items from a single location. These services track RSS feeds, with RSS standing for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. Users can subscribe to a site’s RSS feed to receive alerts when new content is available. AAII has a number of RSS feeds for some of AAII.com’s most popular features (www.aaii.com/rss).
RSS feeds have been in the news more lately after Google announced that it was discontinuing its popular Google Reader service, which allows users to subscribe to RSS feeds, effective July 1. One of the more popular services that has emerged as an alternative to Google Reader is Feedly. Feedly is available for both iOS and Android and this week we look at the iOS version.
After installing Feedly on your iPhone or iPad, you have the option of signing into your Google account. Prior to July 1, this will automatically sync Feedly with your Google Reader accounts and your subscribed RSS feeds. You can also add feeds manually. The app has a number of categories already set up, with popular sites within each. For example, the News category allows you to add content from the likes of CNN, The New York Times, BBC, NPR and many more. You can also perform custom searches for content feeds. As you add content to Feedly, you can put them in categories for easy navigation.
When reading a story, there are a few useful features of the Feedly app. The first is the “remove clutter” option, a feature that will strip out images and leave you with just the text of the story. Another nice feature is the ability to bookmark stories to read later. This is especially useful for those who normally skim the day’s headlines and then go back to read the stories that interest them the most. For those who are into social sharing, there is also a Twitter icon that lets you Tweet an interesting article. To allow you to focus on the most recent items, the app has Today and Latest sections. To help you see which articles are the most popular, there is a Feedly rating, symbolized by a heart, next to each article in your feed. There is an aggregate number of Facebook likes or shares and Google +1’s that the story is getting. The higher the rating, the more popular the story.
As you read an article, you can mark it as read using swipe gestures. A long swipe marks everything on the page as being read, while a short swipe will mark just that article as read. In case you accidentally mark something as being read, you just swipe back in the opposite direction to mark the article or the whole page as unread.
Overall, the Feedly iOS app is very easy to navigate, with a minimalistic user interface. For those looking for a replacement for Google Reader, this app may very well be the answer.