Friday, October 14, 2005

Bloglines Upgrade

A fascinating insight this week into the processes of software innovation.

On October 10th, Redmonk industry analyst Stephen O'Grady announced that he was switching his newsreader away from Bloglines. His main gripe against Bloglines was a lack of visible innovation. Having rejected the Google alternative because
the interface seems to want to break down my preference towards browsing by feed to a river-of-news/relevance style interface
(in other words, it would force him to change the way he works - does this count as arrogance or innovation on Google's part?)
he selected an experimental newsreader (Feedlounge) from a couple of Redmonk friends. The single most compelling feature for him was the fact that he can navigate the entire UI via the keyboard.

On October 13th, Bloglines announced some new functionality. The first item on the list? You guessed it - hotkeys. You can now navigate your feeds using the keyboard.

Unless this is an amazing coincidence, this represents some impressive influence on Stephen's part. I'm very envious - I'm always telling vendors how they could improve their products, but I've never had any of my suggestions actually released within three days.

And it also represents an impressive degree of responsiveness within Bloglines. Okay, perhaps it didn't require a major product redesign, and perhaps there was already something in the pipeline, but a three day response is still pretty good.

Well done Stephen, well done Bloglines. Stephen may prefer to use the experimental stuff, but at least for the time being I'm going to continue using Bloglines.

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