Kinja has gone live as a public beta and already created a lot of buzz around the web. Most likely you’ve already read this nyt article and nick denton’s post about the kinja launch. Many bloggers already signed up and share their digest, so i’ll follow their lead: here’s my kinja digest.
Now that i’ve tried it, i think it doesn’t cut it for me. Use it a few minutes and you’ve seen everything it offers. It appears to be a very barebones news aggregator lacking most advanced features necessary to manage a significant number of feeds. Of course i know that i’m not exactly their target audience with 120-something subscriptions in my feedreader of choice, but imho managing a great deal of sources conveniently, efficiently and fast is the number one reason to use a news aggregator in the first place.
I really appreciate their simple, intuitive interface, it really helps to get you started quickly, but nonetheless it just lacks some features to be of use to me. Two major shortcomings are bugging me, and these two shortcomings don’t just bother me regarding the usage as a personal newsreader, but even more when i dig into the shared digests of others:
- There’s no way to get a quick overview of all the feeds you’re subscribed to. Well, actually there is, but only in the administrations section of a user. What i want is a feed list of shared digests. An overview showing the number of unread items per feed and their last update time wouldn’t hurt either.
- You can’t categorize your digest. This effectively prohibits that you can use kinja to keep track of more than, say, 20 or so feeds.
Perhaps kinja actually offers these features, i didn’t dig too deep, but they definitely aren’t apparent if they are there.
I always wanted an elegant way to share my subscriptions somehow, but haven’t found the right tool for the job yet. I’d hoped kinja might get the job done, but it clearly doesn’t, at least for me. When it comes to subscription sharing, share your opml is a lot better (except that you have to sign up to browse other peoples subscriptions), and it definitely won’t replace my default feedreader, sharpreader, anytime soon.
Overall i think that kinja is nice, it’s just not for me. I also can’t but wonder what took so long to get kinja finished, i mean it’s not like there’s a ton of features or something genuinely new there (adam gessaman isn’t convinced of their offering either). At least it somehow brought server-based aggregators back onto my radar. I think i’ll check out bloglines and feedonfeeds over the holidays.
Update: another kinja review, via scripting news.
Update 2: It dawned on me what kinja really lacks – openness. It doesn’t help you find new and interesting weblogs. The lack of feedlists both for shared digests but also the editorial digests is imho a hint that kinja somehow tries to lock you in (the opml export feature hints otherwise, though). Perhaps not exactly to lock you in – but it clearly isn’t as helpful and useful as it could be. I wish they’d take some clues from share your opml.
Update 3: I’ve posted a follow-up.