Browser-based RSS Aggregators

A little while ago I wrote on the topic of “Smart Clients”, a Microsoft catchphrase for non-browser-based web applications. In my article I mentioned an interesting browser-based RSS News Aggregator being built by Lucmo. Today I read the following post in the Lucmo weblog:

“The Read/Write Web blog writes that Lucmo is in “beta” — that’s not correct, we’re still in alpha. 😉 Sadly, development has stagnated over the last couple of weeks because of busyness (Guan) and vacation (Simon). However, as soon as the current heatwave is over in Denmark we will be productive again.”

I’m looking forward to further developments, because I believe the browser-based model for News Aggregators has a lot going for it. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I signed up to another web-based RSS Aggregator called Bloglines. I used to read my RSS feeds via a desktop app, but now I’ve switched to Bloglines. Here’s why:

1. Bloglines allows me to synch my weblog subscriptions across my work and home computers. My subscriptions and history of what I’ve read stays the same no matter if I’m logged in from work or home.

2. I didn’t have to install anything, or worse, install it twice!

3. I can synch my Bloglines subscriptions with my weblog blogroll, because Blogroll allows me to import my weblog subscriptions in OPML format. Granted this wasn’t working when I tried, but I sent Bloglines an email about it and soon after they replied saying it is fixed now. You can also export your subs from Bloglines to your weblog blogroll, but I haven’t tried that feature.

4. Bloglines has recently added some new features: blog search, “combined views”, time zone configuration, and other nifty Web-based things.

5. There’s apparently a way to track how many people in Bloglines subscribe to your weblog, but I haven’t figured out how this works yet. The user interface is still being “tweaked”, so maybe this feature will become more obvious soon.

I have noticed that Bloglines is very good at publicizing itself, e.g. Bloglines developer Mark Fletcher successfully got Scobleized a few times and now it looks like he’ll be in Forbes magazine. Being able to spread the memes is half the battle sometimes.

But even though I’m a Bloglines user, I’m still keen to try out Lucmo when it arrives. Lucmo – with its concept of “collaborative filtering” – sounds like a mix between Bloglines, k-collector and Chandler. The logical next step for RSS Aggregators is to filter and aggregate information based on a user’s interests. It’s along the lines of topic aggregation that k-collector does and has similarities to the “agent” concept that Chandler is developing.

So good luck Lucmo and keep up the good work Bloglines! As for “smart clients”, Robert Scoble has been quiet about these lately and I haven’t heard mu

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