blog:Spectives: A different take

By xyleexylee (1256508886|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Launched recently on October 7, Spectives "is a site that enables you to search for visual news". So instead of lengthy wordy updates when you scroll those your feeds, Spectives takes a different spin on RSS feeds by displaying only images and titles. If a picture paints a thousand words, then at the very least, Spectives will be able to woo consumers who are attracted by pretty pictures.

For a better idea of how Spectives works, click the link below to get to the video (no luck embedding it).
Spectives in one minute

Spectives - How to?

I created an account with Spectives to check out what they had to offer. Basically, a user has 2 options:

  1. Browse existing collections created by other users and
  2. Create your own collection using feeds across the web

What exactly are these 'collections' anyway?

My understanding of them would simply be a list of feeds. They refresh and update and the user gets to view new pictures and information. So if a collection is titled 'architecture' then it would be safe to assume that the items / images featured in the collection would pertain to architecture and would receive updates from feeds previously added to the collection.

Option 1 is easy enough. The home page provides a list of popular and featured collections created by other users that a user can quickly access and hopefully be inspired by what it has to offer. Clicking on individual items in the collection will eventually take you to the information source.

Option 2 isn't hard, though a tad more tedious. Instead of retrieving information that's already there, you start by gathering the sources. Feeds are added by pasting the required site URL. Spectives then identifies the feed. Should there be multiple feeds available, simply choose your poison. As your sources update, so will your collections.

My Verdict

For a start, I'll happily admit that my opinion was influenced by other reviewers. As first I thought it would be cool to have an RSS feed reader that shows you images exclusively. Turns out, it's really a lot more fluff than substance. Here's why.

  • Restriction to using images. I didn't try this out myself. But apparently, Spectives doesn't let your import feeds that do not display images. The reader is really only as good as the information it's able to source, so restricting the import of feeds seems to be counter-intuitive. Read more
  • Existing collections not particularly impressive. The site is still very new. Users haven't quite caught on to this RSS feed reader and hence the collections may be lacking in terms of quality. I browsed a couple of collections and I must say that they're only as objective as their creators. 'Fashion' for instance, presents a rather narrow interpretation of fashion, not to mention, a rather limited selection of feeds.
  • Only works for visual feeds. This relates to the first point. Aside from the restriction on feeds without images, the reader does not work well if the subject matter isn't exactly visual. All's well if you stick to topics like photography, design, cars, gadgets etc. For others, go with your existing RSS feed reader.
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