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Coming to Feedly reader: Speed, search, Windows 8 support

Developers of the service for reading RSS feeds are trying to rapidly add new features to please Google Reader refugees. Google's service shuts down July 1.

Feedly is installing new Dell hardware to improve performance.
Feedly is installing new Dell hardware to improve performance.

Feedly, the feed reader whose developers are trying to pick up where Google Reader left off, announced Monday that the service will get faster, work on Windows 8, and function without a browser extension.

The Web service, also available as an app for iOS and Android, lets people read Web sites via their RSS and Atom feeds. It's a technology that's popular among those with voracious information appetites, but it hasn't made it to the mainstream. In March Google announced that it's killing its Google Reader site on July 1.

Google's table scraps are a feast for others, though, and Feedly has been scrambling to advance its service to better meet the needs of Reader refugees.

There are plenty of them. The site's user population had been growing about 4 percent per week since last September but accelerated after Google announced the death of Reader. And about 70 percent of first-time users become regular users, the company said.

Feedly decides on new features in part through its user-voice site, where people can suggest features and vote on which ones they believe are most important. As a result of the feedback, Feedly announced the following feature road map:

  1. Speed
  2. Search within my feedly
  3. Pure Web access [so no Chrome, Safari, or Firefox extension is needed]
  4. Windows Phone and Windows 8
  5. Improved group sharing
  6. Bug fixes

Google wasn't the first to build reader software or a reader service, but it did help expand the market. And because it could be used through an application programming interface (API), other apps could use it, too.

Feedly logo

Feedly is pursuing the API agenda, too, working with other reader projects so it can serve as a back end.

"As part of our Normandy project, we have been working with the developers of Reeder, Press, Nextgen Reader, Newsify and gReader to refine the feedly API," Feedly said. "We are teaming up with all of these companies and are excited to announce that you will be able to access your feedly from all of these applications and more before Google Reader retires. More on this later this month when we release the next version of feedly."

That June deadline is firm. Feedly today is a front end that relies on Google Reader to keep track of people's feeds, and June is the last month Google Reader will be available. With the Normandy project, Feedly will use its own service instead, though hosted on Google's App Engine infrastructure.

This month is also when a new potential rival will appear: the Digg Reader.

For now, Feedly is free, but "there probably will be a paid version in the future," the company said.