Feedly’s Killer Feature

I’ve been using Feedly ever since Google announced they were going to 86 Reader.

The plan was to use it as a bomb shelter while the world of RSS was glassed and the survivors set out to rebuild a post-Google syndication world.

Because, clearly, it couldn’t be a permanent solution. Web apps are not acceptable substitutes for desktop clients, and not being compatible with Reeder or Mr. Reader seemed unforgivable. Just hunker down and wait for the right service to come along.

It turns out that there was one problem with my plan: Feedly has one simple feature that makes it much more useful than any other RSS reader I’ve used: Auto Mark As Read.

Feedly renders feed headlines on cards, so instead of scrolling through an endless list, you look through 10 or so headlines on a card, look at any articles that pique your interest, and then flip the card to see the next card of 10 headlines.

With Auto Mark As Read checked, every article on the card will be marked as read when you flip past them. So if you flip through a few headlines while standing in line somewhere, they are marked as read on the server and you never have to scroll through them again.

It doesn’t sound like a big deal until you use it. The benefit is that it makes processing RSS into something you can do intermittantly throughout the day rather than a major undertaking where you either have to read everything, manually mark every article as read or mark an entire category of links as read. It’s just not as precise, and it leaves me constantly scrolling through content a second time after I get interupted and come back later.

Though I’ll still be paying attention as more new services roll out throughout the months ahead, anything that doesn’t offer a similar feature will be a tough sell.