As much as we all were sent in shock and general frustration/unhappiness with Google when they decided to let us know they were pulling the plug on Reader, there definitely has been some good to come out of it. It has shed light on other apps that are out there for RSS and better yet, it has given developers the opportunity to create something different and better than what Reader was. It has given people the ability to take a step back, think about what was good about Reader, and then create something that builds on that legacy.
MultiPlx is one of those apps. It is taking things that were good about Google Reader and then adding another layer to – hopefully – make it better. Currently, it is in beta, but there are doing some good things to make me believe that my RSS feeds won’t just go away when Google kills reader this summer. Let’s take a more in depth look at MultiPlx and what it has to offer.
Getting Content to Read
At the moment there are three different ways that you can add articles to read on MultiPlx. When you first sign up you are given a wide variety of topics to choose from where you can select ones that interest you. After you are done, the app then gathers articles from those topics from various sites around the web for you to read. It is a quick and easy way to get to reading if you just are browsing topics and are not picky about reading specific sites.
If you are a loyal Google Reader user, MutliPlx also has a feature for you. You can easily import your OPML/XML file from Google and then all your sites that you usually read will be ported over for you. Lastly, you can add a RSS feed manually by entering in the site name into MultiPlx, or you can use their bookmark to save feeds when you are on a specific site.
Reading and Interacting With Your Content
When you are done getting all your content into MultiPlx, you can now start to read and share it with others. Your news articles are displayed in a Pinterest-like style where you scroll down for more articles. They can be viewed from the homepage where you will see all your articles, or you can go to a specific folder to read news from that particular topic.
When you read an article, it pops out and you get a very clean view where reading is the focus and you are not distracted by other things. If you don’t like the pop out view, you can expand the article to make it to the width of your browser screen.
Although reading seems to be the focus, that is not to say that social integration is not involved here as well. Articles can be shared to a variety of social networks, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, LinkedIn, and Tumblr, to be specific. You can also save articles to Instapaper as well as email them to people.
After using MultiPlx for a few days, I came away very impressed by it, for one big reason, the reading experience. Now, mind you, this is my personal preference, but I tend to feel like a lot of sites clutter the reading experience with ads and social interaction that doesn’t need to be there. MultiPlx, still has the social features, but yet the reading experience seems to be the focus. That to me is more important than anything else. I don’t need to see the comments and what people think about an article, I just want to read it.
But, that isn’t the only reason why I think MultiPlx has a bright future because when you look at their “Coming Soon” page, you will see a list of things that they are working on. I have put a snapshot below, but you can see that they are adding more Google Reader-like features, as well as some other subtle social features. I definitely like what I see and I cannot wait to see how this app continues to grow into its own.
Like I had mentioned earlier, MultiPlx is in beta and is continually being improved upon. I can definitely see it being my Google Reader replacement in the future, but unlike Reader, I want to pay for it, which I hope they make me do so that it can stick around and get even better. If they are not going to let me pay to use it, I do hope they come up with another financial solution as I believe this app has potential.
Down the road, as with every other RSS reading app I have reviewed, I would love to see some kind of iOS app that compliments this as that would make MultiPlx even more attractive to people. Right now you can sign up to get into the beta and they are slowly accepting people in. If you are still on the search for a Google Reader replacement, I encourage you to check this one out.
MultiPlx is a Google Reader alternative that focuses on topics as well as giving you the ability to bring in your own content from around the web and puts it into a great reading experience for you to enjoy.9