Omea Reader: may be the only RSS aggregator which lets you attach tags and notes to RSS posts

Now that Google Reader users are looking for a replacement, we wanted to highlight Omea, a desktop-based reader and organizer for RSS and newsfeeds that has some unique features that are not typically available in other RSS aggregators.

It was designed to organize every bit of information that comes across your desktop, including emails, bookmarks, newsfeeds, notes, contacts, IM chats and even your desktop files, and interact with them from a single interface.

Omea failed to gain a lot of traction when it was originally released and may have been a victim of the scope of it’s ambitions, at a time when email, note-taking, RSS clients, and the like were migrating from the desktop to the cloud. It comes two flavors: Omea Reader and Omea Pro, both of which  are now freeware.

Omea Pro Screenshot

Freewaregenius 5-Star PickOmea was built on a plugin architecture, whereby you could use the MS Outlook plugin, for example, in order to import your mail into Omea, or install a Firefox plugin to clip web content within that browser, etc. However, because development of these plugins has stopped, you are left to hope that the legacy plugins still work with newer versions of Outlook or Firefox (the latter in fact does not), and you may not find support for newer apps and browsers (e.g. Chrome). If you’re a developer, you can customize Omea to your needs via it’s open API.

Omea Reader vs. Omea Pro: if you just want RSS and News Reader functionality, go with Omea Reader. Omea Pro includes support for a lot more sources of information, including email integration with Outlook, IM integration, integration with Windows Explorer, and the like. Although this article is about Omea as an RSS reader/aggregator, in the wake of the imminent closure of Google Reader; our screenshots and writeup are based on Omea Pro.

6 things I really like about Omea:

1. Apply tags to individual feeds or individual articles

This is something I looked for for a very long time in numerous online and desktop aggregators, and only found it here. Your tags, which are called ‘categories’, can also be applied to notes, files, and other elements that Omea can handle. See screenshot below.

Omea Screenshot Tagging & Categorizing

2. Will let you attach a note to any article at will, or create a clipping from it’s contents

Once you add a note, it will appear as a floating box whenever you view the article. The text in the note is searchable AND you can filter by articles that are annotated.

Omea add a note

A clipping, on the other hand, is a note made out of highlighted text, that can be tagged and searched later on, etc.

3. Powerful feed filtering and advanced search

Similar to ‘smart playlists’ in media players, Omea lets you filter by various parameters, including time period (today/yesterday/this week/etc) as well as your custom tags (screenshot below left)

Omea Pro screenshot - view filtering

Omea’s advanced search can simultaneously search RSS feeds as well as notes, emails, and everything else (including filenames on your PC that may exist in folders that you are monitoring).

4. Will download and display comments under each blog post (without leaving the reader)

Click on the little ‘plus’ icon next to article and you get an overview of all comments made in that article, which you can read right on the spot without leaving the reader.

Omea Screenshot comments

5. Will monitor folders on your PC, and let you preview and/or tag them

Your files can have the same tagging system that you use for articles and everything else, and belong to one informational ecosystem. Note that this is a feature of Omea Pro not Omea Reader (both are free).

Omea Screenshot file tagging

6. Supports multiple workspaces

Such that your work RSS feeds/files/notes/etc. can live in a different page than your personal items, etc. You can even choose which resources to include in each workspace (e.g. you can remove ‘contacts’, ‘notes’ or whatever from a workspace if you’re not interested in having them).

The verdict:

Omea has aged and shows it, but it has some very unique features that you don’t see in too many desktop or online RSS aggregators, and it is very well suited for the obsessive RSS researcher/blogger types (like yours truly) who are interested in tagging, organizing, and annotating information.

It does lack some features; for example, a ‘Send to Instapaper/Pocket/Facebook/Twitter/etc’ functionality, which in theory you could add if you are a developer willing and able to build a plugin for it. It also insists on opening links/URLs inline in it’s own internal IE based browser, which I didn’t mind but wished there was another option offered as well. It is also desktop based, of course, which means that you cannot access your feeds on your mobile device unless you use another tool. I don’t really care too much about this because I see Omea is as an information organizing tool rather than a casual reader.

Omea just may be the best desktop-based RSS aggregator out there. It’s loaded with features and very powerful under the hood. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Go here to download Omea Reader and Omea Pro (Windows). Note that both are now FREEWARE.


 
 
 
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Mar 18, 2013
Samer Kurdi
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  • Will Rubin

    I had to laugh when I went to the site and saw that Omea Reader now has “FireFox 2.0 support.” I didn’t download to try because it looks like this project has been dead for years. I can’t imagine switching to something further gone than Google Reader.

    • Samer Kurdi

      Yes, it’s dated. But it is one of the best desktop based RSS aggregators

      • http://nz.linkedin.com/in/iangoldsmid Ian Goldsmid

        Samer – I have 15,000 feeds with over 300,000 articles and growing in Omea. Omea is the only reader that lets me successfully perform advanced searches across all of that. It has the occasional crash but recovers perfectly. I was a purchaser/user right from the beginning. Such a shame it got shelved. Anyway, there’s still nothing out there that beats it for anyone who needs to work with and search through a lot of feeds.

  • Samer Kurdi

    Actually, Omea has gone open source:
    http://www.jetbrains.com/omea/plugins/index.html#opensrc

    Which is to say that, if any enterprising developer out there wants to take a great program and improve it, update it with the times, they could.

    • Kevin

      The page you link to merely provides the source code to the modifications JetBrains made to 2 GPL projects that Omea uses (they can legally do this without being required to release Omea’s source code because Omea calls them by command line which is not considered “linking” under the GPL).

      Unfortunately, the source code to Omea is not provided, so it does look dead. JetBrains does good work and has some great ideas. Too bad they are abandoning Omea.

  • http://www.portablefreeware.com webfork

    Looks great. I spent hours digging around for a good fully-featured RSS reader and never even came across this. The only thing that approached the feature set was Makagiga. Thanks for highlighting this.

    Softpedia is listing a GPL license. Requires dotNET 1.1.

  • NGC300

    GreatNews doesn’t need .NET or Java runtime

  • K7AAY

    That’s niiiiiiiice. Any apps for those of us who are not captives of Microsoft?

  • Morgan

    Yeah, it was working great, but now I can’s see any of the feeds or articles that the count shows that I have, despite having clicked on just about every tab and view option I can find. The down side of something not having been updated in over six years is that if you can’t find an old support thread with your problem, you’re hosed :-(. Too bad, it looked interesting, but a feed reader that doesn’t let you read your feeds is kind of useless.