Google Reader is a tough act to follow, made tougher by its recent departure. It’s one thing to compete with a giant, quite another to compete with the memory of “the way things were.”
But many apps have risen to the challenge, offering bells, whistles and analytics in a dizzying rush of information as they each try to grab their piece of the Google Reader pie.
So what’s it like competing in this environment? We talked to one fledgling app, FlowReader, to find out.
Long before Google’s announcement, the folks at FlowReader had been working on its “simple social reader for Facebook and Twitter.”
They decided to add RSS reader functionality about three months before they heard about Google Reader’s retirement. So this presented an amazing opportunity for the FlowReader team – and, of course, challenges.
“From the beginning,” Elle Sidell tells us, “we’d been working towards a vision that was, of course, influenced by the existing market, but that was very unique to our own goals. Then, suddenly, we had a deadline that was not inline with our original timeline, and we had to work towards a date that was not going to change to accommodate any delays we might encounter.”
FlowReader had to redefine some features to meet Google Reader users’ expectations, while finding themselves in a crowded playing field, alongside many different readers at all different levels of development.
And here’s how they have an edge:
They’re not trying to supply an identical replacement. They’re focused on “delivering a solid solution for those struggling to find a balance between modern day content sources.” And THAT is really the key to winning in any niche these days, isn’t it? Differentiating, defining an unmet need and going for it.
They seek to offer all the news you want – together at last:
Eventually, Sidell shares, the FlowReader team would “like to get to a place where we can begin designing and building unique features that fit more with our vision of a modern reader and incorporate stronger social features into the mix.”
As it stands, the tool is still pretty solid. You can import and customize content from all your friends and networks (Google, Facebook, Twitter) together with the feeds from your favorite websites and blogs.
FlowReader believes “content curation shouldn’t be a chore. Life is meant for living, not organizing.” They may be on to something there.
Do you agree?
(Image from Shutterstock)