I love Bloglines and use it every day. But, for a while now, I've been wondering how Bloglines will survive. There are literally hundreds of feed readers available. Though most of them are desktop applications, not web-based like Bloglines, I'd think it'd be straightforward to copy the basic Bloglines functionality of caching and displaying Atom and RSS feeds.
But, lately, it seems that Bloglines is getting more difficult to knock off. Not only is Bloglines reviewed very highly and building market share, but also it's adding some impressive functionality that increases stickiness and switching costs.
For example, Bloglines has related and recommended feeds, making it easier to discover new feeds. Bloglines clip blogs are clever. And I find Bloglines basic keyword search to be better than Technorati and on par with Feedster. All very cool.
It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. RSS is already integrated into Firefox and probably will soon be in Safari, IE, and Mozilla. My Yahoo already has a web-based feed reader in beta; Google and MSN may follow soon. Will independent feed readers survive the entry of these giants?
Update: A SJ Mercury News article with a nice overview of Bloglines. [via wingedpig.com]
Update: As of Jan 2005, both My Yahoo and My MSN have integrated feed readers. Here come the giants.