In a large company, employees are often distracted by browsing the Web. At the same time, the abundance of tech news, educational articles and trend reports do aid in advancing the knowledge of an organization.
Now that Google Reader is being shuttered come July 1, you might be looking for an alternative Really Simple Syndication (RSS) reader. These high-tech offerings are geared to busy employees who need to visit one site, catch up on the news and get back to work. In other words, they simplify news reading.
Feedly: Easy Transition from Google Reader
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One of the best news readers available, this brilliantly designed portal takes the technical RSS feeds of other sites and curates them into a home page. The top stories at the top provide a quick glance into the trending news of the day. Employees can select a general category such as Business and see the feeds from sites such as GigaOm and VentureBeat. Or you can import existing RSS feeds from Google Reader. In fact, the site now lets you log in with a Google account and immediately see existing feeds.
Zite: Laser-Like Focus on Employee Expertise
Zite's main advantage is that it breaks the news into smaller bits. There are 40,000 categories. Select the topics you like the most and sync Zite with social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter. For example, if an employee is based in Minnesota and tends to follow businesses located in that state, Zite will cull stories for that preference. The app only runs on the iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7 operating systems.
Skimr: Save on Employee Browsing Time
Less is more with this news reader. Skimr removes all the complexity in "reading the Web" by truncating stories into simple one-paragraph boxes arrayed down the screen. The default view includes stories from popular sites such as TechCrunch and The New York Times, but you can also add custom domains. Unlike most readers, the simple design works equally well in a browser as on an iPad or smartphone. In addition, it's free. Finally, there are no unread article counters, so employees can focus on the top stories of the day with no distractions.
Fever: Run on Your Own Web Server
One of the most interesting RSS readers in our lineup, Fever has the strongest feature set. While you pay $30 per license to access Fever, and while it still runs on the Web, you install it on your own Web server using PHP and MySQL. The reader then splits feeds into essential and non-essential. You can pick RSS feeds employees can't miss-say, database news or tech trend sites-that feed into hot lists. Conversely, low-priority feeds appear less often.
Taptu: Multi-Platform, HTML5 Support
Taptu is the most enterprise-friendly RSS reader of the bunch, largely because it runs on so many platforms. There's an app for BlackBerry-which is the biggest win of all for business users-as well as Android and iOS devices. There's also a PC, tablet and phone-friendly HTML5 Web version. Like an automated Digg, Taptu also reads your Twitter and Facebook feeds to include trending stories and those posted by colleagues. It's also speedy and feeds custom story links based on your interests. The more you read, the better this feature works.
2 Emerging RSS Readers to Watch
Here are two other RSS readers in their infancy that are worth keeping an eye on.
TwentyFive Squares is an Android-only reader that syncs directly with Google Reader. Before you deploy, it's worth waiting to see which service TwentyFive Squares will start using for syncing.
Currently in development, meanwhile, HiveMinded curates content from the bloggers and experts you like on your social networks. It's a big like hiring an expert to feed you news.
John Brandon is a former IT manager at a Fortune 100 company who now writes about technology. He has written more than 2,500 articles in the past 10 years. You can follow him on Twitter @jmbrandonbb.