Chrome app Msgboy embraces the web stream, breathes new life into RSS

Msgboy is an app for Google Chrome that mixes elements of Pinterest, RSS, and link aggregators like StumbleUpon in a very visual way. Once installed in your browser, the app looks at your
bookmarks and sites you visit frequently. It then collects the feeds offered by those sites and builds them into one location you can visit to find their latest posts. If the posts have images, they will be used as the background image for the link block. If there are no suitable images in the post, you’ll just get the title of the post over the empty square.

All of the blocks flow together but still manage to be neatly separated. As you scroll down, a message will display that shows how much time has passed since those posts were made. The app is really about simplifying RSS feed usage and making it more natural. You can then skim the Msgboy aggregation screen and just click on the stories that catch your eye.

Msgboy is more fluid than a normal RSS feed reader like Google Reader or using your email client. The app monitors sites that you visit and picks up the RSS feeds. It’s a great solution for people that are looking for new things in the topics of their interests but certainly not a replacement for those (like myself) that subscribe via RSS to a site to make sure they catch every post in case something particularly important is posted.

I like that Msgboy works in the background and picks up a broader selection than just the sites that I subscribe to. While still based on the sites I bookmark or visit, it helps expand the filter bubble. Using it in conjunction with a feed reader winds up with some duplicate headlines but in both mediums, it’s easy to skip over things you have already read. For many that don’t use an RSS feed reader or rely on Facebook or Twitter to find out the latest from a site, Msgboy can be a visually-appealing improved alternative.

With the app monitoring what sites you visit, it could certainly cause some privacy concerns. Thankfully the developers have taken a strong stance for privacy with the app – it runs local and all data stays local. Msgboy is also open source on GitHub so you can verify no server involvement and we can expect improvements to the app to keep coming. When installing, Msgboy will note that it will have access to website data, bookmarks, browsing history, open tabs, and other apps, extensions, and themes installed.

 

Msgboy implements a simple rating system with a thumbs up/down on aggregated content. If you thumbs down a source five times in a row, it will not appear on Msgboy again. If there’s a particular site you want to explicitly add to Msgboy, you can visit the app’s settings to find a link to install a Msgboy Button to the Chrome extensions area. Clicking that button on a site will automatically grab its feed and add it.

Also under the settings, you can register Msgboy to be your default feed application or reset Msgboy (you’ll have to retrain the app to your sites and preferences again).

 

If you find yourself bored on the web but looking for the latest content, I think Msgboy could make a perfect addition to your web browser. Particularly if you don’t take advantage of RSS feeds currently, Msgboy’s natural way of curating data provides a simple way of keeping up to date.

You can check it out and install Msgboy by visiting www.msgboy.com in your Google Chrome browser.


 
 
 
Jason
Jason Hamilton writes the occasional post for FreewareGenius when he finds software worth recommending and the time. He is a full-time system administrator and writes more frequently at 404 Tech Support and AssumeAwesome.
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  • http://blog.markwill.com/ Mark

    There also is an app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad called “Newsify” that does this. Glad to see this type of interface available on the PC, too. I’m guessing it will be ported to Android soon, since it’s a Google app.

  • paisano

    This looks great. I’ve been using Guzzle.it which only grabs feeds from topics you specify, not specific rss feeds you subscribe to. I like the concept of doing both at the same time. People should always expand their filter bubble.

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