Keeping up with an RSS reader can be overwhelming, especially if you have a lot of feeds that you read. Sometimes it feels like RSS readers are more of a burden than they are helpful. There are many reader apps that know this, and try to take a minimalist, relaxed stance – but few accomplish it.
Today we are reviewing perhaps the simplest reader we’ve ever seen. It’s called Fresh Feed and it has a very interesting take on reader apps. Is it for you?
Fresh Feed is a very simple app, available on the Mac App Store for free. It is technically an RSS reader, but it’s actually quite different than most others you’ll have seen.
It’s a very simple and sleek menu-bar reader that allows you to check a few of today’s headlines on your favorite websites through a funky-looking drop down interface.
After downloading the app and opening it for the first time, it will have Engadget’s feed configured by default (which you might want to delete!)
You can add new feeds by going into the “Config” button on the bottom of the app. A window will pop up with the feeds that you have configured, and from there you can activate or deactivate some of them to keep them from appearing on your feed. You can also delete any of the feeds from this list.
Also on the bottom is a small text bar where you can input any of your favorite website’s feed URLs (be careful though, you have to put the RSS address, not just a link to the website). Once you configure a new address, it will automatically start appearing on your feed. Click “Save” and the app will update the changes you made.
Want to add Mac.AppStorm’s RSS feed? Here’s the link you need!
Checking New Items
Once you have your feeds configured, you can start checking them out from the app. They will be organized by time, and you will only be able to see the title of every item along with the publishing date and time, as well as the source of the article. If you want to read the article you have to click “More” and you will be directed to the website.
The little menu icon of Fresh Feed (a friendly looking milk bottle) will indicate how full your feed is with new items. You can scroll through your items, which will allow you to see the icon image of each of them (one at a time).
For some reason, the app will only pull the most recent items from each feed (I could only read items newer than two weeks from Mac.AppStorm) and there’s no way to mark your items as read, unread, starred, etc.
The first and most notable issue with this app is how it could quickly become hard to manage more than a handful of feeds with it. It just would be too difficult to keep up with more than 50 new items per day. It’s not organized enough or convenient enough to handle that much new information.
Then there’s other small but noticeable problems with the app. While it’s supposed to be fast like most menu-bar apps are, I felt it very slow for the most part – especially when I started adding new feeds. It would take too long loading them and it just felt uncomfortable.
The other issue is that it does not support your Google Reader account, so you’ll have to go old-school and add your own feeds by yourself, one by one. This, coupled with the lack of features stated above (you can’t mark your items, you can’t check items older than a certain period of time) make this app hard to love as a primary RSS reader. Which brings us to the next topic:
Will It Replace Your Current Reader?
Fresh Feed isn’t really trying to compete with your normal RSS reader, and if you are comfortable with what you are using right now, Fresh Feed will definitely not make you want to change apps.
My guess is that this is a piece of software made for people that aren’t really familiar with RSS readers and would like a way to quickly access the headlines of their favorite newspapers or blogs without having to quit what they’re doing or having to get into complicated services or apps. Casual users, some might call them.
As for us non-casual RSS users, this might be a nice complement to an app like Gruml, NetNewsWire, or even Google Reader’s web interface. Right now I use a Chrome add-on that does a great job at complementing Google Reader’s web app, as it allows me to check recent items in my feed without going into the app and wasting time. You could give it or Fresh Feed a try, as they are not so different.
On the whole, I really like this app. It wouldn’t work for me as a stand-alone RSS reader, but it would do a good job of complementing another reader app. I just love how simple and easy to use it seems. If it wasn’t for the notifier I use right now (which does support Google Reader), I’d definitely be giving it a try long-term.
If you only have a few feeds that you constantly check out, and you do not use a reader, this app if for you too. It’s free, it works, and it’s pretty!
Fresh Feed is an app so simple that it might not replace you current reader, but it could work as a nice complement.7