4 Comments

Summary:

Feedly has been adding servers and changing its data architecture — including a move from MySQL to HBase — as more users come aboard and ask the company to start managing many more RSS feeds.

Feedly logo
photo: Feedly

Monday marked the last day of Google Reader, prompting RSS heads hanging on until the end to think about alternatives. While there is a raft of options, Feedly has brought on millions of new users since Google said it would close Reader in March, and it continues to take on more users and information sources while keeping hiccups to a minimum.

Some companies that are already in or are getting into the RSS game — AOL, Digg, LinkedIn — can throw big teams and perhaps their own hardware infrastructure at the challenge of producing a service worthy of taking on users accustomed to the Google experience. But Feedly has been doing this, supporting upward of 12 million users and around 32 million feeds, with fewer than 20 people on staff, said the company’s CEO, Edwin Khodabakchian.

The company has been switching users over from Google’s Reader backend for pulling and serving feeds to Feedly’s own system. Now on that backend, which is called the Feedly Cloud, the system requests the latest content from millions of sources and gets it all ready to send out when users open the application. What’s more, the company has been making available to external developers a Feedly Cloud API, so they can create their own applications with the Feedly-aggregated data.

To do all this, the company relies on Google App Engine for some services, such as processing images to give a quick user experience, but it depends more on its own servers. Since March, among other efforts to support more users, Feedly has doubled its server count to around 100, and the data under management has swelled up to 100 terabytes. The data growth in recent months pushed Feedly to shift from a MySQL and Memcached combination to some Memcached in conjunction with HBase on top of the Hadoop Distributed File System, Khodabakchian said. The new system can support MapReduce jobs in addition to handling real-time workloads, he said.

Those types of engineering changes don’t come for free, so monetization is very much on the agenda. While Feedly plans to roll out information on its monetization plans later this summer, Khodabakchian did talk about how Feedly could serve up information that publishers would want — namely, data on users’ devices, reading patterns and sharing behavior. Right now, it can be hard to know what readers do with it, if they do anything with it. This could happen once Feedly users give their consent for this sort of data to be shared with third parties, Khodabakchian said.

In the meantime, Feedly, based in Palo Alto, Calif., has plenty of other things to work on, such as building out robust personalized searching capabilities and turning out applications for more devices. If things go according to plan, the company could find a nice little revenue stream where Google didn’t.

  1. So wait, an app with 50 million users failed because a company with more money than they know what to do with couldn’t find a way to squeeze out a 2 dollar a month subscription fee?

    Funny how Feedbin and NewsBlur have ample users to support their operations yet not 1/1000000th of the disposable funds to spend on scaling the solution or supporting it.

    Google spends more on Jet maintenance per year than they spent on Google reader, yet we are supposed to sit here and pretend that they failed to keep it in place because they couldn’t monetize it?

    No they were simply lazy.

    Share
    1. davetehwave Tuesday, July 2, 2013

      They certainly weren’t doing the GReader team any favours. Some insight here:

      http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/01/we-were-the-1000-goodbye-google-reader/

      Share
  2. With a little cloud smarts, it’s not tough to pull off a scalable Google Reader replica. 1 person (who wanted to keep going like GR never died), working for only 2 weeks, has resulted in http://redtreereader.com

    Share
  3. Reblogged this on Lock On-e and commented:
    Yes of course. Google killed the beast that is Google Reader. Now I wonder, why did they do that?
    Lets look on the bright side though. With Google Reader gone, more and more feed aggregator startups are sprouting everywhere!

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post