Newsgator releases useful toolbar – look out Bloglines

Newsgator just announced the release of a new beta browser toolbar for Windows users of Newsgator Online, Newsgator Inbox and FeedDemon. Some key functionality has been added that will help the company compete with competitor Bloglines.

Users will now be able to subscribe with one click to any page’s RSS feed in IE and Firefox, a feature that had made Bloglines the easiest online feed reader to use. The toolbar also displays the number of Newsgator subscribers to the feed, inbound links to the URL you are viewing, a feed preview and a search box to discover new feeds by keyword.

This is a very smart addition to the company’s offerings that I’m surprised took so long and I wish it was available for the Mac. One click subscribe is available in NetNewsWire, but the other features would be nice. If this were just a FireFox plug-in that would be ideal.

While Bloglines has long been the favorite feed reader for people looking for a simple but powerful tool, the new Newsgator toolbar means that users seeking many of these features now have options. Newsgator provides a river of news feature that Bloglines does not and handles OPML files much more gracefully. The search feature will probably not be as good, though, as the one at Bloglines – which is backed up by and requires that Bloglines users are subscribed to a feed before it is displayed in search results in order to exclude splogs.

Newsgator is one of the leading RSS companies on the market. The company has provided white label solutions for NewsWeek, USAToday and many other companies. 15% of TechCrunch subscribers use Newsgator services, second only to FireFox Live Bookmarks at 27%. We last wrote about the company when it released a road map for the future of RSS.