Requiem for the Reader

Google Reader will go away on July 1, and with it, the ability of its users to quickly keep up with the world through their meticulously curated updates from various news services, blogs and websites. Many people have been expressing outrage since the announcement and many have scrambled to find a substitute before the virtual axe falls. There’s even the Replace Reader survey page that asks what people via Twitter are using as alternatives to Google Reader.

The Next Web and other sites have gathered up some contenders, but three current programs have emerged on the leaderboard, along with two new entries hoping to snap off a piece of the Google Reader audience. Here’s a quick look at those five options:

  • Feedly, which has stepped up its game since Google announced Reader was headed for the dustbin, can run in most popular Web browsers and also has app versions for Android and iOS. You can just log in with your Google account and all your old G-Reader feeds get imported automatically. Feedly has been getting hammered this week as the End is Nigh, so you may see their version of the Twitter Fail Whale — the Over Capacity Sad Cloud — but keep trying. Feedly also has a fairly detailed Help Guide for those who need it.

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  • NewsBlur bills itself as a personal news reader and comes in both a free version that lets you track 64 sites or a premium version or $24 a year that gives you unlimited sites to add to your feed. You get real-time RSS (important in these days of breaking news), the power share and hide stories from your feed and the ability to view the stories on their original sites. The site has Web, Android and iOS versions.
  • Flipboard, the mobile app that lets you create your own dynamic digital magazines on your iPad or Android tablet from things you find around the Web is another Google Reader importer. You just need to create a free Flipboard account or log in with your Facebook credentials. Once you log into Flipboard, log in with your Google account to pull in your Reader feeds.

flippy

Two big names have recently entered the fray as AOL and Digg have each been working on their own Google-esque RSS reader to fill the void.

  • AOL Reader, which lets you sign in with an AOL, Google, Facebook or Twitter account, promises to be a highly customizable RSS system where you can import subscriptions from other readers, star and tag articles and tweak the page layout to your liking. AOL is also making the API available for anyone who wants to create AOL Reader mobile and desktop apps. AOL itself plans Android and iOS app versions and the ability to share with other AOL Reader users within the system.
  • Digg Reader, which was a whirlwind three-month race to release before Google Reader rode off into the sunset, had a short beta period to generally positive reviews. It imports existing G-Reader feeds and uses a layout that’s noticeably similar. The first version was made for the Web, an iPhone app is expected and a premium edition that costs money is also said to be in the works. It’ll probably be a work-in-progress for a while.

Don’t like any of the current options? Just wait — Facebook is working on a reader of its own, too, although it sounds a bit different from other straight-up RSS reader apps. Seriously, though, if you have a Reader feed that you don’t want to lose, visit the Google Takeout page now — or at least before July 1 — to export your info as an XML file. That way, you have it on hand to import whenever you find a new RSS reader that you like. And here’s hoping whatever new RSS Reader you find sticks around for awhile so you don’t have to lose your news all over again.

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