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Today I had the opportunity to speak with the Boston-based team at Snarfer. Snarfer is a RSS reader that combines the ability to read, search and manage your feeds. As opposed to Google Reader, Bloglines and the other online RSS tools, Snarfer is a downloadable-app and is about 1 mb in size. I was able to download it and have it installed in under a minute. If you use Thunderbird for email, Snarfer looks and works in a very similar manner. After installation, you can select from over 1100 pre-defined feeds in a variety of categories. There are three panes in the default setup: feed list, post list and preview pane. Snarfer claims to be the fastest RSS reader available today. The name comes from the idea to "snarf a feed" and their mascot helps you snarf 'em up!
Here are my notes from our conversation:
- They like the desktop application because they can control the entire user experience
- Sync with Bloglines which helps get everything online into the Snarfer reader
- Very advanced persistent search – similar to google alerts – you can setup an alert and Snarfer will continuously check your feeds for the term
- Tie-in with Outbrain rating technology – this helps to learn what you like (and what others like) to recommend future posts to you
- Has a built-in IE browser which allows you to view the full post within Snarfer
- Monetization – sponsored tabs – currently they have a Pageflakes sponsored tab – so if you use Pageflakes as your start page, then Snarfer starts with that and you can basically "live" inside of Snarfer. More sponsored tabs are coming in the future. It's an interesting way to monetize a RSS reader.
- They are working on a plug-in to let you save Web pages
Here are my thoughts about where they could upgrade:
- Give me an option to download an entire feed for offline reading so I can read on a train, plane, wherever
- Let me save my feedlist online either on Snarfer.com or elsewhere so I can sync multiple pcs
- Let me make my feedlist public so others can see what I am currently subscribed to – this could be very viral for Snarfer
I guess I don't think about desktop apps much anymore when it comes to something that I think of as a Web item. But after playing with Snarfer today, I could see using it going forward. If they just would add my upgrades above, it could be a major winner.