Easier Date Extraction & Access Blocked Websites

Big improvements are coming soon as part of our revamp. Here are two enhancements available now:

Extract Dates More Easily

Our Visual Selector tool has been improved to allow extraction of dates, besides titles, summaries and images (within titles or summaries). Dates can be in relative form (e.g. 19 hours ago) or absolute form (e.g. 29th July 2015). Dates in various such formats are ‘automagically’ parsed and included in webpage feeds. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Access Blocked Websites

Some websites may block access to their webpages from scrapers, bots or other external services, due to which feeds can’t be created for such websites or existing feeds can suddenly stop working. Now, website blocks can be bypassed using our rotating proxy feature. With this feature, webpage requests are routed through a reliable yet random intermediary node, which helps provide extra anonymity. Rotating proxy feature is available in the Corporate plan and we’ll soon introduce it for Business plan customers too.

Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter for updates.

Secure Feeds for a Secure Web

Our website and all feeds originating from our gateway are now SSL encrypted and delivered over HTTPS. It will make client-server communication more secure, and also improve content reach with a higher placement now that Google considers HTTPS as a ranking signal.

All Corporate accounts (hosted separately) are now HTTPS as well, except for those that have the domain alias feature activated, making their feeds mask under their own domain or sub-domain name (e.g. http://feeds.yourdomain.com).

We realize that not all external systems and services are SSL compatible yet, and hence they can’t accept HTTPS feeds. Ironically, and disappointingly, Google FeedBurner is one such major service. So, for now we have enabled both HTTP and HTTPS (by default) for all feeds. You can choose which one to use depending on the consumer capability.

The New & Improved Feed Builder

Visual Selector - Create Feeds

We’re excited to launch the new and improved Feed Builder. Now you can create custom feeds even quicker and more accurately.

As part of the improvements, the new Visual Selector tool provides an easy way to select titles and summaries from webpages, with a unique ‘point & click’ interface. Watch the video to take a quick tour:

The Advanced Refinement mode allows for a more granular extraction of content from webpages. It supports powerful pattern matching using Regular Expressions (RegEx).

Try out the new Feed Builder to create feeds for tracking webpage updates, reading news, Media Monitoring, Market Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence and more.

Drop us a message if you have any suggestions or questions. We’ll appreciate your feedback.

Feed the Spark

We’re delighted to announce that Feedity is now a member of the Microsoft BizSpark program, that provides technology, support, visibility, and community to promising startups and visionary entrepreneurs.

Feedity is a BizSpark Startup

It’s a step closer for us towards delivering a superior product, better service and enhanced value to our customers. It also aligns nicely with our 2013 roadmap for product development, service improvement and overall rejuvenation.

We are striving to make Feedity the best content aggregation SaaS solution for Media Monitoring and Market Intelligence. Stay tuned (via Twitter or RSS) for more exciting product announcements in the coming weeks & months.

Google Reader Alternatives

In a rather surprising move, Google has decided to shut-down Reader on July 1, 2013. Users can export their data, including their feed subscriptions.

Since 2005, Google Reader has had a loyal following, being a great product for subscribing to RSS feeds from websites. But over the past few years, there have been many modern applications available for information subscription. Here are some noteworthy alternatives to Google Reader:

  • NewsBlur (or try dev.newsblur.com) is a personal news reader, free on the web, iPad, iPhone, and Android. It’s open source, which is great.
  • The Old Reader is a social RSS reader. You can even import your feeds directly from your Google Reader account.
  • Fever is a unique RSS reader. It reads your feeds and picks out the most frequently talked about links from a customizable time period. It’s a self-hosted application (built with PHP and MySQL), that you can run on your own server.
  • Feedly is another way to organize, read and share the content of your favorite sites. You can sync with Google Reader. Feedly is available for Chrome, iPhone/iPad, Android, Kindle.
  • Tiny Tiny RSS is an open source Web-based news feed (RSS/Atom) reader and aggregator, designed to allow you to read news from any location, while feeling as close to a real desktop application as possible.
  • Reeder is another popular RSS reader for iPhone, iPad and Mac.
  • Pulse is a fast and beautiful way to read your favorite blogs, magazines, social networks and newspapers. It’s available on Web, iOS and Android.
  • RSSOwl is a free and powerful news feed reader for the desktop. It’s available for Windows, Linux and Mac.

The official reason for the Google Reader closure has been attributed to declining usage, but we think the reality of the situation can be better summed-up in a comment left on an online forum by an upset user:

That’s because there was almost ZERO innovation done on this product. Very few (mostly visual) improvements, and very few new features. The latest posts on Google Reader blog are from 2011.

With new content being published ever-increasingly, readers’ demand exploding and mobile+tablet usage sky-rocketing, the landscape of information subscription is changing. User behaviour is more social-driven now than ever, and presentation is moving to a low-noise, personalized, real-time “river style“. There’s plenty of room for innovation and growth in the information subscription space, and Feedity is committed to it.

Update: Here’s a response from Brian Shih, former Google Reader Product Manager:

Personally, I think that there is still a lot of value a service like Reader could provide — particularly in a world with increasing information overload coming us from many different sources. But Reader at Google was pigeonholed as an RSS-reader explicitly, and didn’t have a chance to grow beyond that to explore that space.