Bloglines is a website where you can subscribe to blogs and any RSS or Atom feed and when new stories are posted, you can read them from Bloglines. You won't have to visit every website to read their latest stories. There are many other feed aggregators and ways of reading feeds from Live Bookmarks in Firefox to GUI software such as SharpReader. More info on aggregators are at Wikipedia.
I personally use Bloglines and find it very intuitive and easy to use. Some of the features I like about it are:
No ads (yes, really, there are no ads).
Want to add a blog? No problem, click on Add and enter the LiveJournal user or Blogspot user name and then presto, it's added.
Want to write your own blog? No problem, Bloglines does that for you too.
Want to save a particular blog post to read later on? No problem, simply click on 'Keep New' on the bottom right corner of the displayed post. You can save posts as well - its called a clip/blog.
You can also import/export your blogroll from/to an OPML file to interact with other services if you need to.
The Bloglines directory has a humongous list of blogs out there. Explore!
Bloglines generates a you-might-be-interested-in-this list of blogs based on your current subscriptions.
There are notifiers for you on all platforms that you can keep running in the background and they'll notify you when there are new posts waiting for you to be read.
Bloglines tells you the number of people also subscribed to the same feed. This helps you judge the popularity of a blog and whether it is worth spending your time on that blog.
When reading a particular blog and you feel the need to get more perspective on the same topics, just click on 'related feeds' and Bloglines will do the rest for you.
I think this is a very subtle yet important feature - I read all the blogs in the same interface. Don't you find it irritating that when you visit many websites, you have to adjust yourself to the layout of the site and figure out where the actual content is? This especially happens with commercial news sites. With Bloglines, the same simple interface is used for all the stories that you read.
Bloglines has great Firefox support. They even have a Firefox center.
- Update: As JD mentions in the comments, FeedDemon is a GUI software that can use Bloglines. This is really neat!
If more people read the same feed on Bloglines, it doesn't affect the traffic for the original blog website since Bloglines has to just fetch the RSS or Atom feed once and everybody can read it.
You can have a public blogroll. Check out my big blogroll.
The 'Search All Blogs' feature simply rocks.
Phew! That's quite a list of features. I think most emphasis has to be on the usability of Bloglines - somehow it feels so natural for me to use Bloglines. I am very picky to say such things about websites because there are so many things that could annoy you.
Best feature of all? Use it once and read anywhere. I usually read blogs at home but sometimes I'd like to read stuff at work when I'm bored or just waiting for a program to finish running. That's the advantage of a web-based tool like Bloglines. Yahoo! and Bloglines are the two websites that are always open in my browser.
The only thing that really worries me about Bloglines is how're they making dough? I mean, Bloglines is supposed to be a business after all, and I see all these great features and yet no ads of any sort or any paid 'plus' model either. I should actually be happy about that but I'm worried that they'll do something nasty later on. Please don't mistake this for FUD, I really love Bloglines and I'm going to keep using it - I just want to know how it's going to survive.
However, let that not get in your way, just try Bloglines - you'll really like it.