Google Reader will be retired on July 1, 2013. According to Google News today through the Official Google Blog:
We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.
Throughout the Blogosphere, there is a rumble of discontent and a petition has been started at Change.org to Google: Keep Google Reader Running. Whether this will have any impact on Googles decision remains to be seen.
I use Google Reader to try to keep up with what’s going on in the world. If you’re asking yourself “what is RSS”, and wondering how it can help you, please see Using RSS To Increase Readers and Backlinks - and so the search for a new RSS reader has begun.
At this point, it should also be noted that you may be using the term News Reader for your RSS Feed Reader – confusing isn’t it?
It’s interesting to see how Feed Readers have evolved over the last few years, particularly with the advent of mobile devices…. I love checking my feeds on phone, it means I can use ‘waiting’ time productively. So what can be used as a Google Reader Alternative? What is the Best RSS Reader? The answer is, it’s depends on your requirements and your personal tastes…
Google Reader Replacement Requirements
When assessing potential applications to use, I had a couple of requirements:
- I HATE having to scroll through lines of text headlines – I’m a visual person, images help me process the information. So an application that provides a graphical layout was preferred
- Provided Web and Mobile app access and update on all devices
- Work on Android and iOS
- Preferably import my feeds from Google Reader – without having to use Google Takeout
There is an extensive list of RSS Feed Readers in this Google Spreadsheet from the Online Journalism Blog but there doesn’t seem to be many that are ubiquitous across mobile and Web interfaces.
Mobile RSS Feed Readers
Flipboard – Mobile RSS Feed Reader
Flipboard has been gaining a lot of interest and support - I see a lot of people saying they are going to ‘read their flipboards’ in updates.
With Flipboard, you can link to your other social media accounts including:
- Linked In (including Groups)
- Google +
- New York Times
and see the updates all on an attractively laid out screen which ‘flips’ between pages. It takes some getting used to, but I really like the layout and the feel – I don’t feel overwhelmed by having all my feeds in one location and I’ve seen information that I have missed, because of the way the content is delivered.
Adding RSS feeds wasn’t as intuitive as I would have thought – even though there is a post on the Flipboard website telling you it can be done, it took me a while to figure it out – mostly because the “add via RSS” link was at the bottom of the results for the url I had entered and I had to ‘slide’ the screen to find it.
The downside of Flipboard is that it isn’t a web app, it’s only available for iOS, Android, Nook and Kindle. Upside is your Flipboard account works across all your devices.
Feedly is a web and mobile based application (works on iOS, Android and Kindle) for RSS Feeds.
The web interface is clean and easy to use and also provides a number of topics to browse and find feeds of interest. You can import your feeds directly from Google Reader, as well as link your Twitter and Facebook accounts to see updates in the one interface. Another nice feature is the ability to choose the layout that best suits your reading style.
On the mobile device, the interface differs slightly (naturally) but it’s still clean and attractive – and you have the choice of viewing layout as well. For the start of each reading category, a ‘cover’ image is displayed – making it clear you’re in a new category. I really like look and feel of this app.
When you open this app – either on your phone or the web, it gives you today’s view. So you can see the updates for the day.
I was pretty disappointed with Newsblur – the home page states that you can sign up for a free account (Premium Accounts) are available but when you go through the sign up process, you’re told that “due to high demand, free accounts are temporarily suspended”.
Any Other RSS Feed Reader Solutions?
There were quite a lot of solutions in the offering when I looked – I’m interested to see what others have found that work for them… please share your thoughts!