While RSS may be slowly dying, startups are still building interesting products around the stale technology. Launched at TechCrunch 50′s DemoPit, Fresh Sliced News is a free Adobe Air powered-desktop application that lets you to build a personalized newspaper from your favorite news sources on the web.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can create personalized sections on the app such as “Technology,” “Food,” “Fashion.” Within each section Fresh Sliced News lets you pull in the RSS feeds of 140 news sites and blogs. You can also add other RSS feeds manually if you have the feed’s URL. Content is automatically added to the app and items are given more visual prominence corresponding to their importance, which is determined two criteria— the level of engagement a news story is receiving on the internet (gauged by PostRank’s technology) and the interests a user has demonstrated in the subject matter of the news on the application. So if I tend to read more news about wine in my “food” section, the articles about wine will be more prominent within the app.
When you hover over an article, a pop-up window appears with a snapshot of the content. When you click on a post, you are taken, via a separate window, to the article’s site, where you can read the post and browse the site. I especially like how you don’t have to leave the app to read the content on a news site.
The app itself is visually appealing and easy to read. It doesn’t appear cluttered, which can be a problem for sites and apps that are aggregating news stories and large amounts of content. Of course, Fresh Sliced News faces its biggest competition from Google Reader and the plethora of other RSS feed aggregators on the web so it might be tough for the startup to gain serious traction. But if you can get past the strange quirks and bugs of Adobe Air, Fresh Sliced News is worth a look.