Stefan covered the Firefox add-on brief a few days ago which is an add-on for Firefox that adds a very basic RSS Feed Reader to the browser.
I use Netvibes as my main feed reader of choice and decided to give Brief a try. I really like Netvibes but they seemed to have technical difficulties lately.
Another aspect of the site that I did not like was that I could not fit more than a few feeds on a page which meant that I had to switch tabs to read all of my feeds.
Exporting my Netvibes RSS Feeds and importing them into Brief was a breeze. Both support the OPML format which was all I needed to make the switch. Brief adds a small icon to the Firefox status bar that displays the number of unread news of all your subscribed RSS Feeds. A mouse-over will list the websites that have new news items and the amount of items on each specific site but I'm not using that feature much.
I usually just click on the icon which loads an instance of Brief in a new tab. The left pane displays all of my subscribed RSS feeds and the right pane the feed or group that I have selected.
By default only the unread news items are displayed in the right pane but it is possible to select a specific feed or folder instead.
Feeds can be marked as read which removes them from the right pane and moves the next news article to the top. If you are in a hurry you can mark all of them read or display only the headlines of the feeds for a faster overview.
A click on the headline of the news article loads the article on its original website in a new tab and marks the article as read automatically. A click on a link in an article however only opens the link in a new tab.
Not everything is nice and shiny though. Brief seems to load old feeds from time to time and I have not discovered the pattern when it does that. It's irritating if articles from last year pop up as new articles. This might be a glitch and it is happening rarely but it is still annoying.
Another aspect that I'm missing is a history feature. It happens that I quickly hit the mark read button only to notice that the article sounded more interesting than I thought. I have to find the site and article in the site's listing in the left pane then. A history function or undo last x actions would be really nice.
From what I've experienced so far I can say that Brief cut the time I'm reading and watching RSS Feeds in half. That's pretty amazing if you ask me. Another nice effect of the switch from Netvibes to Brief is that I only need to click the RSS Feed icons to add the feed to my list of Feeds. I always had to copy and paste the url into Netvibes before.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.