Google Reader Alternative MultiPLX Eventually Wants You To Drop Facebook, Twitter (Interview)
Although Google Reader wasn't popular enough for the search giant to keep up and running, Google's decision to kill it altogether has left its users searching for alternatives. A large portion has already fled to Feedly, but a new RSS reader called MultiPLX is hoping to make a strong impression by tackling various shortcomings. The new reader has its own back-end and offers Web-based service with no plugins. We had the chance to ask MultiPLX founder Emre Kosmaz a few questions about his new service, its features and the future of RSS.
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iTech Post: You said you've been working on MultiPLX for the last eight months, which obviously means the project began before Google killed Reader. What prompted you to jump into the RSS reader field?
Emre Kosmaz: First of all, I have to admit that I have never used an RSS reader before starting to work on this project. Although I [have been] in Internet business since 2002 as founder of an ISP and VoIP service provider companies, having a BS in Industrial Design, I care a lot about design and basically RSS readers never appealed to me visually — so I never even tried to use them. But I always wanted an easier way to follow all the web sites and blogs that I follow. When I found the right partners to create a powerful RSS Reader back-end, I decided to design an RSS reader that [I] would like and "regular" people — like myself — can use as well.
iTech Post: What does MultiPLX do that other Google Reader alternatives don't?
EK: Two important features. MultiPLX is a full Web-based service with no plugins or extensions. This is an important feature for people who cannot use plugins with their office PCs. The second and maybe more important feature is, MultiPLX [has] its own back-end that can scale-up to serve millions of users, and billions of feed posts each day with a speed that is unmatched even in desktop clients.
When we started this project we had no idea that Google Reader might close someday, but we always wanted the speed and scalability of Google Reader — so today I can say we got lucky that we had eight months of head start to create a back-end to be on par with Google Reader. At the moment almost all of the alternatives depend on the Google Reader engine, and if they cannot complete their back-end before Google Reader shuts down, users might lose all their feeds. So no matter which alternative people will decide to choose after Google Reader is gone, I strongly recommend them to export their feeds through Google takeout today.
iTech Post: Many have complained that Google Reader alternatives don't have an export option; does MultiPLX have one?
EK: We believe that your data is yours from day one. Thus, you can take your own data with you any time with MultiPLX. I don't understand why others don't have this option, actually.
iTech Post: Some are saying your RSS Reader is the second-best after Feedly. How do you think it's better?
EK: At the moment people are comparing RSS readers with Google Reader by layout and the features. When we started this project our intention was not to create a Google Reader clone, so those features were not a priority for us. But Feedly started adding those features as soon as Google announced the closing and that's why all ex-Google Reader users find Feedly a better alternative. But if you ask me, first you have to have a dependable backend and all of these Google Reader features that Feedly implemented are only the work of a few weeks.
iTech Post: What kind of improvements or updates can MultiPLX users expect going forward?
EK: In a few weeks we will implement most of the Google Reader features, including multiple layouts for MultiPLX. Keeping in mind that Google Reader will be shut down by July 1, 2013, our priority is to make MultiPLX appeal to the tech elite who will hopefully be the Patients Zero in our viral adoption campaign. We also started working on Android and iOS apps. But in the future MultiPLX is going to be more about the mainstream and we will continue to improve simplicity and usability.
iTech Post: A lot has changed since RSS became popular. How do you see it evolving and staying relevant in the future?
EK: If we look back, although RSS is a great technology, it is built by developers for developers — not for the general population — so basically it was never popular.
Today around 90 percent of the Internet population do not use an RSS Reader. I think this is the main reason why all big brands and many web sites are using Facebook or Twitter instead of RSS feeds when they have new stuff to share with the masses. But again, this is not the real intent of Facebook or Twitter services, and also not the best way to share new stuff when there is already better technology for it. In the big picture, we want MultiPLX be an RSS Reader for everyone who doesn't care about Atom or XML. Call me romantic, but I envision [that] one day people will even follow their favorite brands through MultiPLX instead of Facebook or Twitter, since RSS is a much more flexible, powerful and open technology.