Readability is shutting down and that means making a few changes to Feedbin.
Readability offered two services both named Readability.
A read-it-later/Instapaper type of service. Feedbin offered an integration to let you easily add links to your Readability account. This has been removed from Feedbin.
A parser API. Feedbin used this service to provide the full content of partial-content feeds. This functionality will continue to exist in Feedbin, but powered by Diffbot.
For now I’ve chosen Diffbot to fill in for the functionality that Readability’s parser API provided. Diffbot’s data is great. The whole company is focused on offering a suite of products that extract useful information from webpages and has a simple subscription business model so I’m optimistic that it will only improve.
I looked at a few alternatives to Diffbot, including some open-source projects and Mercury. Ultimately Diffbot’s solid data and presence of a business model made it the easy choice.
I’m planning on leaving the Readability icon in-place. Readability’s parser functionality is tough to convey in an icon, and I think that taking advantage of the brand recognition of Readability makes sense for now. Also, I like to think of it as a small homage.
Readability was a great product that Feedbin relied on for years. It will be missed!
It turned out that DiffBot did not offer the performance necessary for this feature. It’s been updated to use Mercury Web Parser. Also the icon has been updated to:
To use this feature, go to the settings page and find your secret Feedbin email address. Use this email address whenever you sign up for an email newsletter. Anything sent to it will show up as a feed in Feedbin, grouped by sender.
Reading email in an email app feels like work to me. However, there’s a certain class of email that I want to enjoy reading, and Feedbin is where I go when I want to read for pleasure.
For example, many great websites offer subscription content, usually with an email newsletter component. Not only do I enjoy the premium content from these sites, but I believe this a great way forward for people to support writers. Personally I have paid subscriptions to four of these including:
In my mind, Feedbin Notifier offers many advantages over Notify. The biggest reason to choose Feedbin Notifier is that it works with any source that offers an RSS feed, while Facebook has a limited number of built in sources.
Notify by Facebook
Anything with an RSS feed
Apple Watch App
This comparison is obviously biased. However, it is worth pointing out that Notify costs nothing, while Notifier only works with a paid Feedbin subscription.
I think that having a large free competitor like this validates the idea. It also creates a market for a premium, more fully-featured version, which is what Feedbin Notifier is. Competing with Free is nothing new, it’s what Feedbin has been doing since day one.
There are already many great full-featured apps that work with Feedbin. Feedbin Notifier aims to be different.
Feedbin Notifier is a notifications based reader. The idea is to select the handful of feeds or keywords you care about most. Then when Feedbin matches an article, it will send a push notification to your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, keeping you informed throughout the day.
This way, Notification Center becomes the primary interface for catching up on the stories that are important to you. You’ll see articles along side your email and other notifications allowing tell at a glance if there’s anything you want to read right away.
Feedbin is a free universal app for iPhone, iPad and the Apple Watch. On the Apple Watch you can read full articles right away or for a better reading experience use Handoff to continue reading on your iPhone or iPad.
Feedbin now features image previews in the center column.
The most important thing to me when building this feature was that only images that are reasonably high quality would show up here. To do this Feedbin uses a set of criteria that an image must meet in order to be chosen.
One of my favorite operations that Feedbin does to ensure the quality of these image previews is facial detection using OpenCV. By getting a rough idea about where faces in an image might be, Feedbin is able to get a better crop. I first saw this idea used in Twitterrific and loved the results.
Adding images is a big visual change and if you prefer the old look you can turn off image previews in the Appearance settings.
Articles are frequently updated after being published, but once you’ve already read an article how would you know when new content was added?
The new Updated section aims to solve this problem.
Articles will appear in the Updated section if:
You’ve already read the article
More than 50 characters have been added since you last read the article
Not all feeds have meaningful updates, so there is also a way to turn off updates for a feed on the Feed Settings page.
Feedbin also has an improved method for checking if an article has been updated. If there is any change in the length of an article, Feedbin will update the article. Previously it relied on the <updated> tag which was not always available.