Building “RSS As A Service”

When Google announced to shut down Reader, I started to work on an alternative. It is now available as an open platform that provides “RSS As A Service”. Say hello to Reader.is.

Three month as Google announced they would shut down Google Reader, I decided I would build a replacement. As I started to work on it I soon realized that there has not been a lot of innovation in the field of RSS reader in the last years. On the other hand there has been a lot of innovation from semantic news aggregators like MyNews.is, Zite, News360 and others. But this services lack in a point that is important for power users: give a control to the user that knows exactly what he want. Most of this services, are providing great value, but are not transparent on what is provided to the user. They are proprietary black boxes that in some magical way provides you with some news. There is always the fear of missing something.

So an idea came to my mind: why not build a basic RSS reader infrastructure, that could be used on one hand as simple RSS reader, and on the other hand would be an open platform where everyone can build on top of it. Users and developers could build their own filtering algorithms or extensions that provide additional services, and of course the platform would provide also the standard synchronization of the feeds and read articles that the Google Reader API provided.

Now 10 days before Google Reader shuts down, I’m happy to announce that Reader.is is ready to go live. There is not yet everything there from my vision, but for the moment the basics have been nailed: a simple web reader, a sync API, and the opportunity to build a few types of apps on Reader.is. In the next months I will continue to roll out new API access points. This are few of the points on the roadmap:

  • Personalized filtering algorithms that user or developers could create.
  • Personalized templates on Reader.is.
  • API access to push personalized reading lists to the user feed
  • Option to make starred articles public and let user follow what other are starring
  • Serach

Check out Reader.is and tell me what do you think.

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