Friday, October 28, 2005

SearchFox RSS Makes It To The Top

SearchFox RSS has been selected one of the top six RSS readers among the best 33 offerings in the market. Jdey Aref compiled a great report and selected the top six RSS readers based on the following criteria: subscription model, workflow and ease of use.

It's very exciting to see SearchFox making it to the top. However, I would like to see a similar report with emphasis on how good RSS readers are at helping people be more productive processing information, isn't that the bottom line?

First generation RSS readers were very good at allowing users access several sources form one place. Unfortunately, the model breaks rather quickly and makes the information overload problem even bigger.

The key feature of the next generation RSS readers is "intelligence". We need systems that learn what we like and don't, and rank incoming posts based on what's most important to the user. SearchFox is the first RSS reader to offer this technology, and users are reporting reading time cut in half. Again, I am happy to see SearchFox on top but I am expecting to see it ahead of the curve, as "intelligence" becomes essential in the RSS world.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

SearchFox RSS Hotkeys

We've implemented quick keyboard shortcuts to access most of the batch actions. You will find the hotkeys combinations on the "batch" menu next to the batch actions.

Here is a description of all the keyboard shortcuts:

alt+r : Mark Page Read
alt+f : Save Page to Favorites
alt+c : Collapse Summaries
alt+o : Expand Summaries
alt+p : Archive This Page
alt+a : Archive All Pages
alt+n : Next Page

Batch actions only affect your current view. Please tell me what you think and what other actions you would like to access through hotkeys.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Service Update : 10/24 11:00 AM

SearchFox RSS is temporarily down. We are currently working on optimizing the index in order to provide with a faster and more reliable service. Please check back in one hour.

UPDATE 10/24 5:00 PM - We expect to be back online around 9:00 PM.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

New! Bookmarklet & Chicklet

We are happy to announce the release of a subscribe boormarklet for your browser and a subscribe chicklet for your blog.

The bookmarklet is a button installed in your browser's "bookmarks toolbar" that allows you to subscribe directly to the blog or site you're currently viewing. Click HERE to install the SearchFox RSS bookmarklet in your browser.

The chicklet is a Subscribe with SearchFox RSS image that you can add to your website or blog, and link it to an auto-subscribe link. By adding this chicklet to your website or blog, your readers will be able to easily add your feed to their SearchFox RSS account. In addition, you'll be helping us spread the word and get others to enjoy the benefits of a personalized RSS reader. Click HERE to get more information on how to add the chicklet to you website or blog.

Friday, October 14, 2005

New! Export Your Subscriptions

The "export" feature is now available. You can export your subscriptions in OPML format by clicking on "export" in the "Manage My World" page. The export button is located next to the "Import OPML" button in the "Manage Feeds" box. I circled it on the picture.

Once you click on "export", you'll be prompted to save or open the OPML file. Select "save" and choose a folder for the file. You'll be asked for this file when importing your subscriptions into other readers.

Please leave a comment or email me at support at searchfox dot com if you have questions.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

New "Manage My World" Page

We just launched a new “Manage My World” page that allows users to organize and move existing feeds between folders. Although the process is extremely intuitive, here is a short description:

1- Expand the folder
2- Click on “move”
3- A small window will pop up asking for the destination folder
4- Select a folder or scroll to the bottom of the list to create a new folder
5- Done

We also highlight the entire feed row when you mouse over it. This should make the process much easier for all of you with wide or high-resolution screens.

By the way, the new “Manage My World” page only allows moving one feed at the time. We’ll be adding a batch menu to this page very soon. In the meantime, let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

SearchFox RSS Goes International

We originally designed the personalization engine to work best for the English language. We thought the private beta would mainly appeal to geeks in the valley. Surprinsingly, bloggers from all over the world wrote about SearchFox RSS. And today, 35% of our beta customers are from non-English speaking countries.

We are thrilled about that and have great news for our international customers. We just released a new version of the personalization engine that supports most languages. We are still working with some Asian languages and I will let you know as soon as we have those covered. In the meantime, if you are from a non-English speaking country, I will love to hear how SearchFox RSS is working for you. Please leave your feedback in the “comments”.

Friday, October 07, 2005

New Features for a Better Workflow

We just released two of the most requested features. First, we added the “Batch” menu, “Archive This Page” button and “Archive All Pages” button to the bottom of the page. No more unnecessary scrolling. Second, we streamlined the “Archive This Page” and “Delete Page” actions by taking you straight to the following page if available. This will save you an extra annoying click. Finally, we enhanced all the progress messages that come up when clicking on a batch action.

These new features are 100% based on your feedback. So please let me know what you think and keep sending cool ideas. I am certainly driving the feature set based on what’s most important to you.

UPDATE 10/08 9:24 PDT: We noticed some Firefox users have problems using the archive features. Firefox is failing to read the new JavaScript file and is using a cached one instead. This is an easy fix, just pres Ctrl+F5. We are also pushing a change that should solve this problem for good.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The SearchFox RSS Workflow

When we first looked at how people read posts in RSS aggregators, we came across two distinctive models:

1 – Non-aggregated model: You see all the posts for a single feed in one page. The system will assume you read all the posts as soon as you select a different feed.

This workflow is forcing users to check every single feed. It may work well for 10 or 15 feeds, but it breaks very quickly. In addition, all the posts are removed from the feed view once you leave that feed, even if you haven’t even seen the posts.

2 – Aggregated model: You see all the posts from a group of feeds, usually paginated. Read posts don’t go away, instead they are marked as read. Seen posts remain the same.

Aggregating posts from different feeds makes sense. Users care about a relatively low number of topics but have a much higher number of feeds that cover those topics. However, ranking the aggregated feeds chronologically produces an even bigger problem. It becomes harder to read the feeds you like the most and feeds that publish several times an hour take over your reader.

We looked at the shortcoming of the current readers and designed a workflow with the following goals in mind:

- Show what’s most important to the user first
- Don’t assume seen or displayed posts have been read
- Reduce the number of clicks to a minimum

Here is how the workflow works for one of my folders with 30 feeds:

- Click on a folder (1 click)
- Expand the posts I want to read (10 clicks)
- Go to next page (1 click)
- Expand the posts I want to read (1 click)
- Archive All (1 click)

Notice that I did not go pass page two because the “personalization engine” brought the most important stuff to the top.

Alternatively, you can use the “archive page” feature if you are not done with a folder and have to do something else. So you won’t miss what you haven’t seen yet. In addition, all the archived posts are accessible using search or clicking on “show all”.

Total of 14 clicks and spent no time skimming through the clutter. Time: 18 minutes. Not bad. Now, I would like to know how you do. Feel free to share you experience and time savings…