Giving SearchFox a try

Thansk to the support team on I now finally also have an account of this new RSS aggregator service around the web ;-) Since I’m currently quite into Opera (let’s see for how long *g*) I will esp. try to find out, what’s working on it and what not also motivated by this statement in the compatibility list of searchfox:

SearchFox has been successfully tested on Explorer 6.0 Windows, Firefox 1.0 Windows/Mac and Safari 1.3 Mac SearchFox

For thos of you who haven’t heard of SearchFox yet, I’d recommend that you read its profile on TechCrunch. There you will also learn about the “personalization” I’ll mention in this article :-)

Note: SearchFox is still in beta so this is just a current-state article of this service. If I find something wrong with the service, I’m quite confident that this is just because of the SID-status ;-) This article was written only an hour or so after I’ve received my invitation so this is also just a first impression :-)

At the first sight SearchFox seems to have some simliarities with Rojo with all the content of the subscribed feeds listed on the startpage. There is also a small expander in front of every item so that you can view at least the excerpt of this item. If you expand an item, it will also automatically get marked as read, exactly like on Rojo (but on SearchFox this at least works compared to Rojo ;-) )

The problem here is, that read items still appear on the front page. IMO it would be better to hide read items and only make them available through such an option like “Show: last day | last week | last month | favorites | all”.

Now to the management. SearchFox uses like Bloglines a folder structure for the organization of the feeds. What I’ve noticed here though is, that you can add feeds to folders, but not move them. You’ll have to unsubscribe and re-add them to be able to put them into a new folder. I don’t know, how this affects the personalization. Definitely looks like a pure beta issue :-) Adding feeds is very easy and the form for it also includes the option for creating new folders. There are also shortcuts for adding Topix, Blogspot et al. blogs.

Now to importing and exporting: Exporting is not possible yet but according to the alert-box it will be added soon ;-) The importer supports OPML but died for my ~200 feeds OPML file so I currently can’t test SearchFox with a large quantity of subscriptions.

Another small note: Sorry, but I couldn’t really give the rating engine a real try since I first want to see it with my 200 feeds :-) But honestly I’m not so sure if such a rating system is all that great at all. If I subscribe to a feed, I’m naturally interested in its content. What’s new is new for me and I can absolutely cope with a lot of new news items :-)

A big + is the simplicity of the interface. Since I’ve compared SearchFox with Rojo quite a lot in this article I won’t stop here ;-) The interface of SF is very straight forward without many colourful icons or stuff like that. It’s clean and fast. It also uses AJAX to make the interaction much faster and as far as I can tell, everything seems to work with Opera 8.50.

This said: At the current state SearchFox is IMO not really a competition for Bloglines. The personalization is definitely a great feature but the complete lack of community services like sharing items (Rojo) or viewing who else has subscribed to a feed (Bloglines) is still a big minus. There is also no way to make a feeds private …. which is actually not necessary since you appear not to be able to make them public in the first place. On the other hand: The whole interface works with Opera 8.50. Congratulations :-)

I’m really curious what will happen next and if SearchFox can still become a real competition for Bloglines :-)