Most news reader services offer the same basic layout with a list of feeds and folders on the left and a list of blog posts on the right. Feedolu takes a different approach.
This news reader skips the usual design and goes with a Flipboard-inspired layout (that’s what it looks like to me, anyway). And rather than place the list of sources on the left, Feedolu offers you the option of displaying a social panel.
Feedolu offers a trio of views, including mosaic, tile, and list. The list view only shows the titles, but the other 2 views show an excerpt of the blog posts. You can scan the snippet, and if you want to read the post you can click on the magnifying glass; a small panel will pop up and show the article. If you click on the post title a new panel will slide out from the right and show you the source webpage.
I’ve used Feedolu for a couple hours this morning. At first I was offered the option of adding suggested topics and feeds, but I skipped it and added my own instead. I was able to successfully import my OPML catalog. Feedolu loaded it quickly, and was soon showing me the latest news.
In terms of features, this is pitched as a social news reader but I don’t see very many sharing options (twitter, FB, email, etc). It seems to mainly be focused on sharing with other Feedolu users. I even added my Twitter account, but I don’t see any new options.
I also don’t see any save for later options like Readability or Instapaper, though I can star an article and read it later in Feedolu. Search is also absent, and so is any feature for pulling the source text and replacing the excerpts posted by some blogs.
This could be a usable service, assuming that the layout works for you. It’s fast, although the reading windows are too small for my taste. But in spite of its speed, this service isn’t going to be of much use to this news junkie.
I have put too much work into organizing my sources into folders, and I need those folders to organize my feeds. There are simply too many to do otherwise. Feedolu does offer “Walls”, which is similar in concept to folders, but unfortunately for me the import process didn’t convert my folders into walls. I wish it had.