RSSOwl, my feed reader of choice, offers several interesting features that are not apparent on first glance. You may now that I ended up with this Java based feed reader after using online tools such as Google Reader and offline apps like Feed Demon before.
The feature that I want to talk about today is the reader's feed discovery service. This works pretty much the same way that Google Reader provides users with recommendations.
For that you need to click on Tools > Find more feeds in the program interface to launch the Import option. The Import Feeds matching the following topics option is already preselected in the Import dialog. All you need to do know is to enter a topic to find feeds related to that.
You may also want to check the Only Feeds that match my Language option to find only English feeds and non foreign language ones.
Click Next and wait until the results have been populated by the application. This takes a few seconds. Feeds that you have already subscribed to are hidden by default. Each feed is only listed with its name which makes the selection process less straightforward than that of Google Reader (the Google product displays title, description, url, weekly post averages and subscribers on the results page).
You can select one of the suggested elements and click on the Preview button to get a feed preview. This is an important step to avoid adding feeds that are not providing useful information.
The search for Firefox revealed some great sites, like mine for instance, Mozilla Blog or Tweaking with Vishal, but also a lot of sites that most users interested in the topic won't find useful, like the Yahoo Toolbar for Firefox RSS feed or the Toolbar Cleaner feed.
I'm not entirely sure why my site and Vishal's appeared in the search results as I'm subscribed to both in RSS Owl.
Dupes may appear if a site uses multiple RSS feed links, for instance a direct feed link and one hosted by a feed provider such as Feedburner.
I tested the feed discovery service with other keywords, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Windows 8 and always came up with a few gems that I did not know about or did not subscribe to. Especially the multi-word discovery works excellent and provides excellent results.
You can download RSS Owl from the developer website.Advertisement
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.