Bloglines creator Mark Fletcher opines: "I have over 200 subscriptions in my Bloglines account [...] There's no way I could follow that many sites in My Yahoogle. Sometimes I'm asked if I consider My Yahoogle competition. There's no way that they can compete without completely changing their interface."
The Big 3 and Bloglines
He's talking about both My Yahoo and Google's new Personalized Homepage - and he has a point. While I've talked about Google and Yahoo (and Microsoft) as being future RSS Aggregators, the fact is they *will* need to change their interfaces to scale up the amount of RSS feeds their users can track. I think Google and Microsoft, in particular, will utilize search heavily in whatever new interfaces they come up with.
Indeed Mark Fletcher himself recently said that Bloglines is aiming to develop a "world-class blog search, which we don't think exists now" [nb: see my analysis on Bloglines and search from a couple of months ago].
My prediction? Look for Google and Microsoft to integrate RSS and search much more closely than they do today. MyYahoo may be different, as their focus is primarily media. They may instead ramp up their RSS aggregation features to enable their users to subscribe to more feeds - and more variety too (think video, podcasts, weather, stocks, etc).
Hey Bloglines: keep an eye on Rojo
Meanwhile, a Web-based RSS Aggregator to keep an eye on is Rojo. A confession: I've been using Rojo for the past week as my main RSS Reader. I've hardly touched Bloglines! OK that's been for testing purposes, but I'm not that far away from making a permanent switch to Rojo. The only thing holding me back is performance issues (more on that in a minute).
I'll do a thorough review in due course, but for now let me say that I find it easier to scan information in Rojo and it has features such as 'Flag this post' that are proving to be quite useful. In general, I'm finding the Rojo interface suits my feed-reading habits and Rojo adds useful (and promising!) functionality to the mix. And I'm not even talking about tagging!
However the main issue with Rojo right now is quite simple: performance. It desparately needs to improve the download times, which can be painfully slow, and there are a number of little bugs that need to be wiped out. But I know the Rojo team is aware of those issues and it's their number 1 priority to address them. It has to be, otherwise all the promise of Rojo will slip away like a dot com dream.
My opinion of using Rojo after 1 week is this: a very nice interface which makes for a fulfilling feed-reading experience, some useful and promising information management features (which I'll elaborate on in a later post) - but it seriously needs to address the performance issues and make everything run fast and flawless.
So Bloglines - it's your move! Bloglines to my mind still holds the advantage in site performace and fast updates for feeds. And simplicity, although only just - I've found Rojo to be easy to use too. What Bloglines needs to work on, as I mentioned last week, is the Bloglines User Interface. Get rid of the two panes, for a start. I've found the one-pane view in Rojo much more satisfying. And let's see some fresh new User Interface features and a ramped-up search.
Mark Fletcher promised in my blog that improvements are on the way, which is great news. Knowing how smart Fletcher and his team are, I'm fully expecting some compelling new functionality - maybe an interface to easily track non-blog information such as weather and shipments, for example?
In any case I'd advise Bloglines not to delay those upgrades for too long, because some of us Bloglines lovers have begun to seriously eye up the compeition ;-)