The RSS reader world is now pretty cleared out so I was interested to hear about Omea, Jetbrain’s new desktop reader. I’m a heavy RSS follower and Google’s merger of Reader into the Google+ social environment has made it less functional than it was. Omea is the first new RSS reader that has some compelling features.
If you are already using Google RSS, you can easily export your current RSS feed list (using the OPML format exporter) and import it directly into Omea. There are a number of features that make it a compelling alternative:
- Workspaces. You can create tabs that focus on specific areas of information you are following, and segment the RSS feeds into those workspaces. Hootsuite does this nicely with social media tracking but I haven’t seen an RSS reader do this as well as Omea;
- Annotations. Most aggregators allow you to mark an RSS item with a star or favorite so that you can quickly return to it. But Omea has the option of adding an additional annotation so that you can save comments with the post.
- Alerts. Omea will watch incoming RSS posts for keywords. Highlight text in a post that you want to get alerts for, right-click and select Notify me, and the next time one of your incoming RSS feeds contains that text, Omea will warn you.
- Advanced Search. The search looks at the index of feed items you’ve already retrieved. In this way, it’s similar to Google Reader. It has more filtering options, though, which can be helpful if you’re searching beyond just the RSS feeds you’ve retrieved.
Omea aggregates newsgroups, can export content as Web pages, and does far more than this post covers. Its only real drawback is that, like all desktop aggregators I’ve used, it does not maintain synchronization status with an online RSS reader. If I look at feeds on my phone or tablet or in the online Google Reader, I don’t have any way to filter out those items when I return to Omea. If you’re primarily on a desktop, however, this is a fantastic tool.