Earlier today, Newsgator announced new releases of its most popular applications: FeedDemon 2.6, NetNewsWire 3.1, Inbox 3.0 (beta), and NewsGator Go! for Windows Mobile 2.0. According to Greg Reinecker, Newsgator's CTO:
Each of these is a pretty major release on its own - tons of new features in all of them.
But second, every one of those applications is now free! Free as in beer, that is. And add to the free list NewsGator Go! for BlackBerry as well. And not only are they free, but our online services (including synchronization) are now free as well! Not to mention our iPhone reader, HTML mobile reader, and all of the other applications that are part of our online platform.
This is important stuff. RSS readers are two a penny, many of which are free but not all readers are created equal. Newsgator has gone to great lengths to ensure a presence in the enterprise. This makes it relatively easy to for the company to concentrate on selling its added value server products. That has happened because Newgator's products are perceived as superior to other offerings. Marjolein Hoekstra, an RSS specialist and developer advisor says:
Enterprise readers often need access to thousands of feeds, and then organize and extract relevant data as quickly as possible. In my experience FeedDemon and BlogBridge are the best desktop feed reading clients in this regard. They are superior because they have rich feature sets like easy to establish smart feeds and post to blog. They both have good support which matters to business and are regularly updated.
While much attention is given to cloud computing, desktop readers are much more attractive to the enterprise. As fellow Irregular and Redmonk analyst Michael Cote says:
Adding more than one RSS feed to Google Reader at a time really sucks. That's where desktop readers shine.
More tantalising than going 'free' though is where Newsgator is headed. Today, both FeedDemon and NetNewsWire desktop clients will recommend feeds as part of the discovery process. They also help users find content within their subscriber lists. Newsgator describes these respectively as 'attention' and relevance' data.
The company is participating in the APML initiative with the idea that users can aggregate both their subscription and attention data into a single place that then becomes portable. At present, the company is looking for applications to support what is in effect behavioral data. For external use cases, the data will be anonymized while at the same time making life easier for end users.
Jeff Nolan, VP corporate development and another fellow Irregular said that:
A number of our customers are research based and they really like this because it allows them to quickly surface ideas that have merit. They see that by moving these services onto a server environment, they will have much richer data sets with which to take product development - as an example - forward.
But the real fun comes from the creation of highly qualified syndication services. Media companies for instance will be happy to include content from other sites because for as long as the visitor remains at their property, they're not elsewhere. Newsgator believes that by refining both attention and relevance data and then packaging them into syndication services delivered as widgets, they will provide an attractive service for these kinds of organization. Jeff Nolan again:
At present we can provide human filtered aggregated feeds as a widget that can be added to any website. In the near term, we are looking at add dynamic search so that site visitors can easily filter for information that's relevant.
Enterprise RSS is moving at a fast pace. From what I saw in my Twitterstream, plenty of people are interested in the topic. Newsgator's stratetgy of going free across the desktop board is clearly paying off. One to watch.