Brad Feld

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NewsGator’s Toolbar and the Receiving Side of Product Focused Venture Capital

Aug 08, 2006
Category Investments

Brian Kellner, my victim VP Product Management at NewsGator, writes a great timeline of “his view” of Product Focused Venture Capital.  Look for the TypePad widget soon.

NewsGator released the beta of their Toolbar for IE and Firefox.  While it’s beta, I’ve been using it for a few weeks and it’s pretty solid.  A toolbar is long overdue, not just for auto-discovery (there are lots of plug-in options for NewsGator’s products – going back to 2004 – but you’ve got to work harder than necessary to find them or get them installed.)  You can get the Toolbar here and – once it’s out of beta – it’ll be on the home page and in the product builds. 

Remember – it’s beta.  If you try it and have problems, tell us.  Did I mention that it’s beta?

Now – this isn’t your ordinary toolbar.  It’s tied tightly to NewsGator Online, NewsGator Inbox, and FeedDemon.  As you’d expect, it has a Subscribe button and feed autodiscovery.  However, it does smart things like find multiple feeds when they exist (say – on all those Typepad sites) and puts the FeedBurner one at the top of the list.  Or – when you highlight a feed in Subscribe popup, it shows you the Title, URL, Description, and Number of NewsGator subscribers to the feed.  Or – you can actually Preview the feed to make sure it’s got the stuff in it that you want. 

Ok – you’d expect that.  However, when you land on a page that has a bunch of inbound links, there’s a Discussion icon that lights up with the number of Recent Links.  My FeedBurner Networks post got a lot of play over the weekend – Discussion finds 52 links (yeah – there are duplicates – those will get fixed – I already reported it) but via the drop down you can navigate around the inbound links.  Yes – these are all in the NewsGator Online database.

How about the cute little Search box.  Say you are interested in Marathons and want to find some Marathon feeds.  The Search popup returns the top “marathon” feeds in NewsGator’s database, ordered by Number of Subscribers (remember – this is beta – there’s plenty of work to do on this one, including cleaning up duplicates and managing the search taxonomy.)

While the Toolbar in a vacuum might not be that exciting, I think the integration of the various products around the core NewsGator Online feed database in the middle – and the surfacing of a number of clever features (lots more coming) – is really cool.