Some time ago, Google announced they would not support their Reader anymore. Since I had been using this product from the day it launched, this was very bad news for me. So what other option was I left with then to go and build my own web based RSS reader.Soon, I realized I did not really have to pull in the whole articles. I have discovered it was enough to get a list of headlines and prefixes I could quickly skim through. That’s when Skimr was born.
Skimr uses RSS feeds to collect new articles from various favorite websites. It then creates a feed of snippets, aka skims. Users then go through them and click on the ones they like and want to read in full. This is actually pretty fair for the website owners as we send them traffic. Traditional RSS readers pull in content and send no traffic in return.
What was even more cool was when I realized how useful Skimr was on my iPhone. It is super easy and ultra fast to check out what TechCrunch and other blogs are posting at a given moment. It’s almost like Twitter, you know, a feed-ish like service. Talking about TC, here is how it looks like in Skimr: http://www.skimr.co/techcrunch
Skimr is a web app. This means you don’t have to install anything, it does not occupy local storage and it’s free. We use responsive design so Skimr scales nicely based on your resolution. You can use it on you desktop, tablet or smartphone very easily.
While working on Skimr, we have discovered how fragmented this whole RSS area was. I mean there is almost no standard. Each website seems to be generating their RSS feed slightly differently and so it creates some tweaking here and there to maintain a consistent look of the resulting feeds of skims. What’s even more problematic is retrieving favicon icons Again, no standard here. There are some solutions out there, but we have found out non of them works 100 percent correctly all the time.
A nice little by-product is the Skimr Directory. Each site that a user adds gets listed here. It will probably get pretty crowded over time and we will have to build in some filters and stuff. But for now it serves one specific purpose – there is a default website list on the homepage of Skimr. Users can customized the list anyway they want. They usually have up to 10 websites there they check every day. But sometimes, especially on the weekends, the skim through the websites and want something more to read. This is where the Directory comes in. Users click on it and get a nice list of other websites and corresponding article feeds they can skim through. And if they like a certain feed, they can click on the plus icon on the top and add it to their homepage.
Skimr is free for now. But hey, we do have some premium features in mind that we might add over time.
Addictive is the word that summarizes Skimr. I personally use it many times a day and I must say I am more informed about what’s new than how I used to be without Skimr. It’s just so quick to learn what my favorite websites are posting in real time. So, go ahead and skim the web at http://www.skimr.co!
Guest Post by Petr, CoFounder of Skimr