Feedbin Notifier vs. Notify by Facebook

by Ben Ubois

Today, Notify by Facebook was released. Conceptually, this is a similar app to Feedbin Notifier, which was released two days ago. The timing is coincidental but still interesting.

Left: Feedbin Notifier. Right: Notify by Facebook.

A similar coincidence happened when Feedbin launched, which is that two days later Google announced they were shutting down Reader. Weird timing.

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.

Feature Feedbin Notifier Notify by Facebook
Sources Anything with an RSS feed 72
Apple Watch App Yes No
Read offline Yes No
Spotlight Integration Yes No
Sync Yes No
Privacy Yes LOL
Price $3/mo Free

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.

Feedbin Notifier for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

by Ben Ubois

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.

Hope you enjoy it! Would love to hear your feedback.

Image Previews

by Ben Ubois

Feedbin now features image previews in the center column.

Feedbin, now with more images.

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.

Feedbin can find a variety of images including:

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.

Crop with face detection. Sample image from The Great Discontent.
Crop without face detection. Sample image from The Great Discontent.

Adding images is a big visual change and if you prefer the old look you can turn off image previews in the Appearance settings.

Link Opener for Chrome

by Ben Ubois

This official extension restores the ability for Chrome users to open article links in a background tab using a configurable keyboard shortcut.

Previously this was possible without an extension, however the Chrome team recently removed this feature.

The default shortcut to open a link is option/alt + v. This can be customized in Chrome’s Keyboard Shortcuts for Extensions and Apps page.

The extension is open source and ideas for improvements are welcome.

An extension for Safari is not necessary because WebKit still supports the browser API to create background tabs.

Update: Martijn van der Ven has created a FireFox version of this extension. Thanks Martijn!

Easy Tagging with Drag and Drop

by Ben Ubois

Adding and removing a tag via drag and drop

This is a much improved way of tagging your feeds. Click on a feed and drag it to the tag you want. To remove a tag, drag the feed onto the main feeds list. Easy!

Never Miss an Update With the new Updated Section

by Ben Ubois

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.

Click on the clock icon to toggle updates

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.

Easy Feed and Tag Renaming

by Ben Ubois

Renaming a Feed

There’s a new quick way to rename feeds and tags.

  1. Double click on a feed or tag to edit the text.
  2. Press return to save the change.

Thanks to Toby Foster for contributing this feature!

New Theme and Appearance Settings

by Ben Ubois

Sunset theme

The new theme is called sunset and it’s my favorite look for Feedbin. I associate this color palette with Reeder so I feel right at home when using Feedbin on the web or through Reeder on iOS or Mac.

To try this theme out you can visit the new Appearance settings page.

Appearance settings showing the inline summary view

In addition to changing the theme, you can also turn on or off summary elements you’re not using. The new inline option is great if you have a wide-screen display and want to take advantage of the extra space.

You can also use the format toolbar to quickly switch themes.

Format toolbar

Major Sharing/Read-it-Later Upgrade

by Ben Ubois

Twitter and Facebook are often cited as the reason for the decline in RSS usage. Where does content originate though? Right where it always has: on blogs and websites that probably have an RSS feed.

To help RSS become the ideal medium to find useful/interesting/funny stuff to share with friends or save for later, Feedbin now makes it easier than ever to integrate with other services.

You can configure these new service integrations on the Sharing page under Settings.

Here’s what’s new.


For Instapaper, Pocket and Readability, saving for later is now a two click operation (one with the new keyboard shortcuts).

There’s also an option to send an article to Kindle. While Kindle isn’t really a Read-it-later service, it can be used in this way. In the background Feedbin builds an e-book complete with any images present in the article and emails it to your private Kindle email address.

Evernote and Pinboard

Feedbin’s Evernote integration makes it so you can save articles directly from Feedbin to Evernote. You can edit the title, specify tags and even select which notebook to save to.

With Pinboard you can add a title, description, tags and private/read later options, all from within Feedbin.


If you have a Tumblr website, Feedbin gives you the option to create Link posts of the article you are reading.


You can email the full article to a friend and even add a comment.


Twitter and Facebook sharing options give you the standard sharing popup provided by these services.

Keyboard Shortcuts

The sharing options you have configured are now keyboard accessible using the number keys 1 – 9.

Please get in touch if you have suggestions for other services you would like to see.


Night Theme

by Ben Ubois

Feedbin now has a great-looking night theme. It’s nice to use when there’s not much ambient light in the room or if you just prefer a darker app.

The layout has been updated as well to make room for a new starred view so you can easily see all of your starred articles organized by tag and feed.