NewsGator platform roadmap – where are we going?

We have so much going on here at NewsGator, and so little of it has been talked about in public. Well, that’s about to change. I’m going to lay out our near-term product roadmap for you here, including our upcoming NewsGator Enterprise Server, code-named “Dino”.

This is a big deal for me – I’ve always been a big fan of developing in secret, running beta programs under NDA, and so on. But in this case, I think it’s time to open the kimono, and talk about what we’re doing, and where we’re going with our four product lines.  (Four?  Yep…and two of them have never been talked about publicly until now.)

So here it is. We’ve talked a lot about NewsGator Outlook edition, and NewsGator Online. But not with respect to future plans…mostly just announcing things that have happened. I’ll try to give you a taste of what’s coming here. And, I’m going to tell you about our upcoming enterprise products, and also the publisher platform we’re building.

So enough of the intro…let’s talk about the fun stuff!

NewsGator Outlook edition

Many have wondered what’s going on with our Outlook product, since we haven’t done a major release in a while. No worries – it’s a critical part of our plans moving forward, and as I mentioned last week, we’re working on the next major revision right now. I don’t have all the details right now as to what’s in and what’s out, but rest assured that we’re hearing everything that’s being said.

One thing you will definitely see in the upcoming release of NewsGator Outlook edition is a tighter, more effective integration with NewsGator Online. Synchronization will work much differently, and we’ll be addressing the common complaints people have with the existing system. And cool features we have in the online system (clippings, ratings, and other new stuff we’re working on) will also work in Outlook.

And we’re really thinking of this new release as a platform upon which we will be building lots of new features and capabilities on.  We don’t intend to let the product “rest” for a year again – we’ll be constantly evolving it, and releasing much more often, for folks that want to stay on the bleeding edge.

NewsGator Online

Since its re-launch in October (which included free access for certain parts of the system), NewsGator Online has been growing dramatically. We’ve gotten great feedback on the system, and we’re adding features and improving the system pretty constantly. We don’t always talk about the new stuff that gets added – sometimes it just goes in, and people can discover it.  The two most recent additions that we did quietly was adding search capability, and adding a settings page for the web edition (which lets you automatically mark posts as read, among other things). These are both online now – go try them out!

Moving forward, this platform is extremely important to us, and we’re investing a lot in its continued evolution. The proposed feature list is long and distinguished :-), and really contains some things that we believe will drive the industry moving forward.

One thing that’s definitely coming (and some of these already exist, although haven’t yet been made public) is extremely deep API support.  Our general plan here is to expose nearly everything in NewsGator Online via API, and allow folks to build applications that leverage our platform in unique ways. Anything from simple notifiers, to complete aggregation applications, to some new kinds of apps that haven’t ever been built yet, will be possible using our API’s.  This is a pretty exciting area – watch over the next few months as we start rolling these out.

And using these API’s, you’ll see us working closely with quite a few partners, to build cool new products and capabilities.  Some of these are under development already, and I can tell you, some early stuff I’ve seen is pretty awesome.

Code name “Dino” – NewsGator Enterprise Server

We have not talked about this product up to now without a NDA in place…so you can definitely say you heard it here first. :-)

We do a LOT of enterprise business with our Outlook-based product. As we’ve been working with these customers, we’ve learned a lot about their needs and issues for information distribution…and what we’ve been finding is that a desktop-based product alone is not exactly what they need.  Enter Dino.

Dino could be characterized as “NewsGator Enterprise Server”, for lack of a better name. Imagine NewsGator Online, picked up and installed on a server behind a corporate firewall. Imagine it also (optionally) connecting with Active Directory and Exchange server. No longer would a system administrator need to go install NewsGator Outlook edition on 3000 desktops; rather, with Dino, they could install a single server, make some configuration choices, and employees will just get “more stuff” somewhere in their Exchange mailbox without having to install anything on their own machines. Outlook; Outlook Web Access; Blackberry; Exchange ActiveSync; all of this is enabled by the Dino/Exchange integration.

Not using Exchange? Not a problem. Dino will have a version of NewsGator Online’s web-based aggregator (also also mobile edition, email edition, and media center edition). Many potential customers have asked us about an intranet-based aggregation solution, and Dino fills the bill for this as well.

And with sophisticated indexing capabilities, and integration points with other enterprise systems, Dino can become a central information distribution point for all kinds of content.  All managed in one place, leveraging organizational structure in Active Directory (if available).

Dino of course will have extensive API support, to help customers and partners integrate it into their business systems. Some of these API’s will be unique to Dino, but the NewsGator Online API’s will be supported on Dino as well. So what this means is cool applications that are written to talk to NewsGator Online can also work inside the firewall against the Dino platform. Good stuff.

I could go on and on for pages on this – there is SO much cool stuff going into this product.  We’ve spoken with a few customers about Dino, and everyone we’ve talked to has been excited about it. Which makes me excited about it!

Code name “” (uh oh, no code name) – Media Platform

We haven’t completely decided on the marketing name for this, and we don’t have a code name for some reason. So I’ll call it (here only!) the NewsGator Media Platform (NMP).

We’ve been working with quite a few publishers, who are thinking pretty hard about RSS and what it means to their business. Many of them are seeing an opportunity to “own” the user experience around RSS-distributed content for a certain set of their users, and these folks have contacted us about helping them build such an experience.

Imagine the Somewhere Post, a newspaper in Somewhere (my apologies if there actually is a newspaper in a place called Somewhere!).  The Somewhere Post might want to integrate RSS content into their own web site for the MySomewherePost experience. Or they might want to build a downloaded application for their loyal readers. And in either case, the user would have choices about what they read, including non-Somewhere content, but Somewhere would “own” the user experience and certainly position their brand in a way that was beneficial to them.

The Media Platform we’ve built is based on the NewsGator Online system, and we have the ability to deliver a publisher-branded experience to web sites, mobile devices, or even in a custom downloaded application. And with our online platform behind it, we have sophisticated indexing and categorization services available, which makes these applications far more powerful than they might normally be.

We have several publishers in various stages of contracts and/or development, and we’ll be making some announcements soon. This is a pretty exciting space – not just for us, but for the publishers as well.  I wish I could tell you more here, but I should wait until we have signed contracts with the publishers we’re working with.


Lots of stuff going on, as I said.  If you have any thoughts or comments for us, please don’t be shy…I’d love to hear from you.  For public comments, just comment here on my blog; and if you’d rather chat privately, send me a note and we’ll get a conversation started.

35 thoughts on “NewsGator platform roadmap – where are we going?

  1. Derek Scruggs

    Very cool. The API in particular strikes me as a game-changing move. I hope you’ll expose a public version of it (a la Google API keys) for experimentation, though I can understand why you’d be nervous about that.

    The timing for a new Outlook client couldn’t be better given the new FeedDemon release. Can’t wait to see it.

  2. NewsGator platform roadmap

    Greg Reinacker just announced some big new products from NewsGator. NewsGator will now make a play behind the firewall with a product loosely named NewsGator Enterprise Server. NewsGator Enterprise Software will integrate with Exchange and Active Directory and interact with…[more]

  3. NewsGator Product Roadmap

    Greg Reinacker – founder and CTO of NewsGator – posted NewsGator’s near term product road map today.  The gang at NewsGator has been heads down cranking on a number of fronts – I’ve been encouraging Greg and crew to be more open about what’s coming next.  Greg historically has been very tight lipped – by his own admission – so we had some interesting (and useful) conversations about this.  While I’m not a proponent of vaporware or FUD, I do believe it’s useful for young companies to be open about what they are working on.  Customer and partner feedback is hugely valuable…[more]

  4. William Beekhuis

    Great news! Can’t wait ’till the new Outlook edition is here!

    Are you still working on the Mobile and Media Center editions of Newsgator? They haven’t been upgraded in quite some time and could use an overhaul…

  5. Mike Irene

    Even though NewsGator Outlook may currently be your bread-n-butter, NewsGator Online (and its derivatives) seem to be the future. To that end, it would be great to see a user-customizable UI for feed display within Online. Marking posts is a start, but the ability to show headlines only, headlines plus description, date/time stamp/ratings, or even a collapsable DHTML outline format would dramatically improve the user experience.

  6. NewsGator's Enterprise RSS Server

    Moonwatcher (a blog about the emerging enterprise RSS market) pointed to a post by Greg Reinacker’s where Greg lays out a roadmap for enterprise RSS, among other things. Greg founded and runs NewsGator, which is my personal favorite RSS reader. NewsGator is working on a product they call “Dino”, which is an “Newsgator Enterprise Server”. Here is Greg’s description: Dino could be characterized as “NewsGator Enterprise Server”, for lack of a better name. Imagine NewsGator Online, picked up and installed on a server behind a corporate firewall. Imagine it also (optionally) connecting with Active Directory and Exchange server. No longer would a system administrator need to go install NewsGator Outlook edition on 3000 desktops; rather, with Dino, they could install a single server, make some configuration choices, and employees will just get “more stuff” somewhere in their Exchange mailbox without having to install anything on their own machines. Outlook; Outlook Web Access; Blackberry; Exchange ActiveSync; all of this is enabled by the Dino/Exchange integration. I’m excited about developments in this direction. Installing something new on enterprise desktops is a barrier to adoption and my hope is that the server model will move RSS along in the enterprise. I think enterprises have a LOT of opportunities is this space and it great to see Greg and NewsGator doing it….[more]

  7. NewsGator's roadmap

    Greg Reinacker was kind enough to help me figure out why my NewsGator wasn’t loading. It’s under Help/About/Disable Items. He then pointed me to his roadmap he just put up and wanted to know what I throught about it. Hmmmmmm. Well first of all transparency is a good thing and roadmaps are superb! But we all know that Greg’s life has been made a hell by Bloglines and Rojo and the ever expanding universe of aggregators – so I wonder if he would have done this a year ago. Anyway – I like Greg – so here goes…. 1. The…[more]

  8. Sam K. Zohaib

    That’s great! I’m really excited about the new outlook edition too and it’s great to know there’ll be good upgrades like the media platform (a great move for publishers)… Looking forward towards the API too, carry on the good work!

  9. A Learning Blogosphere (1): Setting and Milestones

    In Fall 2004, I developed a distributed learning blogosphere for non-technical students at the University of Michigan. Ninety-five percent of participants felt blogging improved their learning. Here I provide the hard, pragmatic lessons we learned in getting community interaction to work. In follow-on posts, I will provide quantitative analysis of how blogging shaped the class….[more]

  10. Ben Barren

    A private labelled enterprise solution for print/online publishers is exactly what the market requires.

    Just as I want to pick and choose what I read in my offline newspaper so too is it time that I am able to choose online.

    Keen to see how things evolve.


  11. [name removed at author's request]

    I am a huge fan of newsgator online, and I agree with poster above who says that the Outlook-based tool is probably not the platform of the future.

    I can read my newsgator feeds – literally, my lifeline to the world – with the same level of sophistication at my girlfriend’s apartment on a Macintosh PC, on my friend’s wi-fi laptop in the florida keys, at my parent’s house, at my office, and at my apartment.

    only one of these places lets me comfortably do anything in outlook (at home).

    the reason i am motivated to post is that i think newsgator is still ignoring the potential of this tool. API could be awesome, but I think you should try to get the off-the-shelf version right.

    i would pay for a highly functional web-only tool. looking at the fee/service menu, everything i get for paying is not valuable to me – outlook, media, etc. i would pay $5 a month for the barebones if i had to, and particularly if it worked better.

    i’ve already tried to switch to bloglines twice because of issues with single-company headlines for yahoo RSS, but bloglines seems much worse – i don’t like the look and feel or functionality – but there aren’t any other options. as a businessman, the web-only version seems like a wide-open opportunity, because it still has a way to go.

    1 – the navigation of settings, adding feeds, managing feeds and associated tabs is not logical; this is frustrating. all the setting and modification tools are not logically located.

    2 – manually adding a new feed – which is all i ever do – takes a few clicks, and once i add it, i now have to select “show feed in newsgator online” as a “custom” adjustment, which is ridiculous since that is all i ever do. i should be able to add a custom feed and have it show up in the folder of my choice on the same screen, and that takes one click to get to.

    3 – can’t view more or less than 50 posts per feed at once. don’t see where that gets set.

    4 – i’ve been trying to get yahoo single-company headline rss feeds to work with newsgator, but they have been continually posing old items. bloglines, for all its other problems, didn’t seem susceptible to this. don’t know why.

    5 – occasionally, blogs will republish 100 posts (blogger or typepad); seems like the bugs of RSS are still being worked out. at a bare minimum, maybe there just needs to be a way to “lock down” posts such that nothing prior to a certain date will show up.

    i think there’s more, but that’s what i can think of now. – greg

  12. NewsGator Enterprise Server Announced

    NewsGator announced the NewsGator Enterprise Server this week.  Ross Carlson (my superstud IT guy) installed Beta 2 this week – I think it’s awesome.  When I first invested in NewsGator a year ago, I bought into Greg Reinacker’s vision of RSS as a platform technology and NewsGator as the platform company for providing RSS reader capability.  At the time, there was a some emerging buzz around RSS, but over the past year it has picked up incredible speed and is now working its way into mainstream and enterprise computing. NewsGator Enterprise Server is another component of a product roadmap that Greg laid…[more]

  13. NewsGator Acquires NetNewsWire

    NewsGator announced today that it has acquired NetNewsWire, the most popular Mac-based RSS reader.  Many of the folks involved, including Brent Simmons (NetNewsWire), Greg Reinacker (NewsGator CTO / founder), Nick Bradbury (FeedDemon creator – now part of NewsGator), Sandy Hamilton (NewsGator EVP Sales/Marketing), and JB Holston (NewsGator CEO).  Rather than repeat what they’ve said, I’ll try to cover different ground. When I originally invested in NewsGator in June 2004, the company consisted of Greg Reinacker and one other part time person.  I wrote a post describing why I invested in NewsGator.  In September 2004, I wrote a post about NewsGator’s…[more]


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