Feedly is a Firefox extension that allows you to create a magazine like start page for your Google Reader subscriptions and while the magazine style does add a nice look and feel to Google Reader, that isn’t what I like about Feedly. What I like about Feedly is that it allows me to find content I am searching for from my trusted sources (in this case, my Google Reader subscriptions) without changing my current search process. Feedly does this by extending my general Google search to my Google Reader subscriptions, and adds matching results to my Google search results page.
Let me give you an example. This morning one of my students emailed me a Globe and Mail article about copyright, bloggers, big media and republishing rights (Gatehouse, NYTimes settle copyright suit). I wasn’t familiar with this story so, after reading it, I wanted to find out a bit more, like who is Gatehouse Media (an aside – if the Globe would have included a link to the company in their article this step wouldn’t have been needed). Over to Google I go and search for GateHouse and get my standard set of results that I can begin sifting though.
But wait – what is this? Because I have Feedly installed, there is a list of matches from my sources showing up. Feedly has searched my Google Reader subscriptions to find matches and is presenting me those results in the regular Google search results page. Here are incredibly relevant results, vetted by me from my trusted sources. This immediately gives me a much richer and accurate set of search results than if I relied on a standard Google search.
Now, if you are a Google Reader user you might be saying I could do the get the same kind of network result if I just started my search in Google Reader using the built in Google Search engine, which is true. But what is nice about Feedly is that I don’t have to take that extra step of doing my search in 2 places – Google and Google Reader. Feedly slips right into my current workflow unobtrusively and without the need to repeat myself.
This concept of searching your network is something that I touched on briefly in the current SCoPE seminar Scott Leslie is doing on Open Educational Resources. The question posed there is how do you currently find open educational resources? Increasingly we are going to have to rely on our personal networks. We need to find those sources we trust (which is something we have been doing for a long time) and find simple ways to mine their collective intelligence in order to effectively find what we need. This little feature of Feedly helps me do that.