Rojo is a free, Web-based RSS reader that melds a conventional newsreader with a social-networking community. Like other aggregators of Web content, Rojo lets you subscribe to RSS, XML, or Atom feeds to stream news headlines, blog summaries, or even deal-of-the-day catalog listings directly to your Rojo account.
It took us a few quick minutes to sign up with Rojo and get started. Rojo let us immediately subscribe to popular feeds, such as the New York Times, and we were also able to search for more feeds by subject. For example, a search for feeds related to ecology retrieved only 41 items--quadruple whatfound, but turned up 383 and Newsgator Online dug up 68.
Rojo's interface is straightforward, though slightly busy, with a list of feeds on the left, tabs on top to separate contacts and content, and a central pane that shows the latest stories. Using a Web browser, you scroll through Rojo's indexes of feeds, click a story title or a page link that interests you, and read the item in a browser window. We like that Rojo lets you sort stories by date, by subject tags, and by the frequency at which they're read--and of course, it lets you import OPML feeds from another newsreader. Yet these features aren't unique, as popular competitors do the same thing. However, the popular Bloglines does not support tagging, which makes Rojo the better choice if you like to seek and sort stories by subject. Rojo lets you save stories for later reference, but Bloglines allows you to save pieces of stories as Clippings--handy if you're doing research.
Rojo stands out from its rivals by focusing on social networking. Bloglines gives you the option of making your list of feeds public, but Rojo goes one step further with features that promote interaction between its users--a unique approach in a genre designed to deliver personalized content. For instance, you can Mojo a story, which means tagging it as recommended reading for other Rojo devotees to find. Wonder which stories are popular with other members? Click the Top Stories tab to view a list of Mojo'ed articles. In our tests, only a handful of stories out of dozens in our feed list had been tagged with Mojo more than once or twice, so perhaps the community spirit isn't quite there yet. Social bookmarking services such as Digg are more widely used.