Finding a Google Reader alternative

Google surprised many Google Reader users when it announced the service would cease to function on July 1, 2013. Google Reader is the company’s free, browser-based RSS reader that thousands, if not millions, of people use. May users are now searching for alternatives, especially those for whom RSS is an integral part of their workflow (including yours truly).

With that in mind, I found some great, web-based RSS readers that will work on your Mac or PC, as that’s the niche Google Reader filled. Onward!


Feedly

Feedly is a very popular option. So much so, that the company saw 50,000 new members join within 48 hours of Google’s announcement. It’s more stylized than Google Reader and has a newspaper-like feel in the way feeds are displayed. Some folks will like that, but others who were accustom to Google’s more stark appearance might find it off-putting.

There are Feedly apps available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, and they all stay in sync nicely. So, if you add or remove a feed on one device, the change is reflected on the other devices instantly.

Feedly is free and lets you import your Google Reader feeds easily.


The Old Reader

Another popular choice is The Old Reader. It’s appealing because it was molded on Google Reader, and offers many of the same features. Note, however, that The Old Reader is still in the early (beta) stage of development and that means it isn’t feature-complete and may have some bugs.

The Old Reader will let you import your Google Reader information (though less elegantly than Feedly), and organize feeds into categories and folders via drag-and-drop. It’s got good support for keyboard shortcuts (so you spend less time reaching for your mouse) and a fun social feature that lets you share interesting articles with friends on Facebook or among your Google contacts.


Newsblur

Newsblur is another browser-based option with free apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. It offers a few niceties that go beyond what Google has been offering. For example, there are a couple ways to view an article: as it appears on the originating site, as they’re set up to appear in RSS or stripped of images and ads for a nice, clean and distraction-free reading experience. Of course, you can organize your feeds into folders and keep everything in sync with your mobile device.

Another standout feature is that Newsblur offers tiered pricing options. The free version limits you to 64 news sources, and each can display 10 at a time. Premium users who pay $24/year are free of those restrictions.

The company is seeing very high demand and has temporarily stopped accepting new free accounts. But, we still have four months before Google shuts Reader down, so keep checking back on Newsblur if it’s one you’d like to try. I’m sure demand will reach a manageable level soon.


Bloglines

Bloglines is a veteran news reader, having been around since 2003. There are no mobile apps, so this is an entirely web-based solution. Of course, you can organize and sort your feeds as you like. There’s good news for Bloglines’ future, too, as it was recently announced that MerchantCircle is going to keep it up and running.

There are other web-based RSS alternatives, but these are the ones I like. Others are still in development and not yet available, like Feed Wrangler and Feedspot that have been announced since Google’s news. Again, these services aren’t up and running yet, but you can sign up to receive information as it becomes available.

Finally, you’ll need to export your Google Reader data before you can move it to a new solution. Fortunately, I’ve written a brief tutorial on how to do just that.

Do you have an alternative that I’m not aware of? Share it in the comments.

36 Comments for “Finding a Google Reader alternative”

  1. posted by Frugalapolis on

    You didn’t mention Netvibes which is my favorite so far. It imports your feeds but it doesn’t have a mobile version.

  2. posted by Mara on

    Thank you for this! I’ve been meaning to find out what I should do to replace Reader.

  3. posted by Kate on

    It is possible to change the view on Feedly to make it a little more condensed and similar in viewing to what Google Reader offers.

  4. posted by Katie on

    @Kate — can you tell me how to change the view on Feedly? I’m usually pretty tech savvy but I haven’t figure it out yet! Thanks!

  5. posted by Jack on

    I’ve tried Feedly’s Android app. It’s a feed reader, I’ll give it that. But it still has problems, like accidentally tapping the screen while reading automatically takes me back to what constitutes a list of stories. If I’m scrolling and my finger (or stylus) twitches or is jostled, I’ve lost my place. Plus unintuitive icons for feedly-specific actions. And not being able to zoom on supposed web page (but really seems to be just an view specific to feedly).

    So maybe what I’m saying is that feedly doesn’t work for me. The only thing I find nice about it is the left menu listing of feeds. It seems like it’s trying to curate the experience, which I neither need nor want.

  6. posted by Kate on

    @Katie – I’m having trouble finding the preferences menu at the moment, but I know I used a universal setting that would changed all feed views to the “Titles” view. It is also possible to change it individually per feed by clicking the cog symbol for settings and choosing Titles there.

    I mostly use the site in web browsers, but I know the view can be changed in the mobile apps as well.

  7. posted by Debbie M on

    I’m switching (admittedly from iGoogle rather than from Google Reader) to Protopage. You can tell what it’s like just by going to their home page–they have a sample one set up and you can try adding and deleting news sources (aka “widgets”) (for me, it’s mostly blogs) and see how it works before giving them a logon name and e-mail address. It might even let you keep the changes you were playing around with before signing up.

    It’s free and, if you go to protopage/mobile, available on your mobile (according to what I read–I don’t use this feature). I don’t know if it imports your feeds–I decided to take the opportunity to de-clutter, which is easier to do when you have to add each new one by hand, plus I’m reorganizing it into to better pages/tabs.

  8. posted by Bill Reid on

    I moved to Netvibes. If you switch the view to “Reader” instead of the default “Widgets”, it’s nearly the same experience as GReader, along with the “starred” functionality. It also does a pretty good job of plowing through thousands of posts. Also pulls in social media feeds and email. Also imports your data and auto sorts it into tabs.

    There’s no mobile app, but the mobile web app lets you offline sync most everything. There’s really no need for it.

    The bonus is that I’ve been able to set up several widget pages with alternate views that work really well for particular sections of my feed.

  9. posted by Bill Reid on

    Oh, and you can also set up feeds and get an idea of how it works before registering.

  10. posted by Mike.Gayner on

    So AFTER giving NewsBlur all of my contact/login details and access to my Google account it asks for my credit card number and tells me that free accounts are suspended. What utter bullsh*t – this should have come up BEFORE I gave them all of my details.

  11. posted by Roxanne on

    I switched to Feedly immediately, and I love it. It was super easy to import my feeds. I also use the Android app occasionally, but prefer reading on my computer screen.

    @Kate: Thanks for pointing this out! I tried the different views (Titles, Magazine, Mosaic, Cards, Full Articles) and I’m sticking with the default Magazine view. Cards isn’t bad either.

    It’s nice to have a visually appealing RSS reader interface for once. Google Reader was handy, but not at all attractive.

  12. posted by tba on

    @ Frugalapolis

    How did you import your google reader feeds into netvibes? I’ve downloaded the subscriptions from google reader, but I can’t seem to find where to upload it on netvibes..

  13. posted by James on

    I’ve also been hearing good things about Netvibes. As I understand it, all you need to do is import the Reader OPML file by clicking Add Content, followed by Import.

  14. posted by Eternal*Voyageur on

    I like My Yahoo because I don’t like reading posts in my feed, I prefer clicking over to the blogs. Also, My Yahoo allows me to organise the feeds.

  15. posted by meghan k on

    I read feedly runs its back end through google and it will also go down when google reader does.

    can anyone confirm this?

  16. posted by Grant Lucas on

    I’m currently working on a sync service, Admiral, for those looking to replace Google Reader but also want to be free to switch the reading app they use.

    Admira (admiralapp.com)l is solely focused on syncing your feeds between the apps you want to use. We are current,y in development and are trying to gauge interest in the service. If this sounds interesting to you, we would love for you to sign up.

    We’re very open to feedback and are looking to build the best service possible.

    If Admiral suits you, sign up and tell your friends!

    Grant Lucas
    Lead Developer at Admiral

  17. posted by Grant Lucas on

    @meghan Feedly currently works with Google Reader but they are working on their own clone of GR to replace it when it goes down.

  18. posted by Sara on

    I used and liked igoogle but weaned myself off it when they announced it would be closing. I haven’t replaced it, but would quite like to. It makes sense to me to choose something that will work both on my netbook and on my Android phone, but I’m a bit vague as to how best to choose. I’ll be watching what you all say about this, and then make a decision.

  19. posted by Jay on

    Your “50,000 in 48 hours” is off by an order of magnitude.

    I too switched to Feedly immediately, so I could compare the two and then make suggestions to Feedly, with GR still as a reference. I have made suggestions and they responded.

    I like that it’s a service, but I don’t really like the service. It’s a chrome app, not web based. And while I don’t expect them to cater to and change their service for GR users, at the same time there are things about the service that just do not work logically.

    So I’m probably going to still look for another service.

  20. posted by Roberta on

    If you blog on WordPress, the Reader easily imports your feeds from Google. Will check out admiral, too. Thanks.

  21. posted by Jacquie on

    I thought I was fairly internet savvy but had to search to find out what an RSS reader was and am still furry about when and why I might want to use one. How have I managed for the last 20 years without? At least I don’t give a hoot about Google stopping their Google Reader.

  22. posted by tba on

    @ James: Thank you for the advice. Unfortunately it still is not working.

    Is anybody else on netvibes experiencing the same problem? I can’t import my feeds. I click the button and it just says “error” almost immediately. Also, netvibes always appears in widget view, with a popup that suggests I should try the reader view. I click it, and the button switches to the reader position, but the view does not change, and everytime I click somewhere, the button jumps back to the widget position, and the popup appears again.
    It’s a bit of an annoying experience for someone who just subscribed. They also do not have a help forum or any place to ask questions. Very bad performance. I might as well just delete my account again.

    I don’t want to use feedly because I want a completely web-based/online option, as I read my rss feeds from various computers, library etc. Is bloglines the one I should opt for then?

  23. posted by Dan Erickson on

    I’ve found Feedly to be a great reader.

  24. posted by Joe on

    Reeder (reederapp.com) is a great option for the Mac and iOS. It is a minimalist RSS reader and reminds me a little of Google Reader. They currently use your Google Reader subscriptions to populate the app, but have already said they won’t be going away when Google shuts it down.

  25. posted by Julie Bestry on

    I just upgraded to a new iMac. For years, I’d used my Safari browser as my reader, thrilled that subscribing to a new feed was as simple as bookmarking, and delighted that a counter in my browser window told me how many new posts awaited me. Sadly, Mountain Lion, the current Apple OS, doesn’t support Safari having a reader, so I was all set to move to Google Reader. Now I’m in the same boat as all the other unhappy people. I regularly read dozens of blogs, and a good RSS feed is essential for me. I’ll be testing for a while, it seems. Sigh. Thanks for the info!

  26. posted by Tiffany on

    I switched to Pulse – so far so good. It was easy to bring my Google Reader feeds over. I like using it more on my iPhone/iPad than Reader.

  27. posted by Herfinnur on

    I never got hooked on Google Reader, because Pulse always seemed like a much better option: https://www.pulse.me/

  28. posted by Roger on

    If you are after a podcast player, there is also Podfy that works great for me: http://www.podfy.com

  29. posted by Michelle on

    YIKES! I had no idea my Reader was going away, so first huge thank you for the heads up. Now to experiment with the others and figure out where to go.

  30. posted by Sara on

    I think, because it is igoogle I want to replace, I want something that will display all the various sites I log into daily, not just things to read. I need: my work website, 2emails, google calendar, rememberthemilk, workflowy, Unclutterer, Ebay, Facebook and a couple of newspapers. Being able to organise these into folders as I do on my phone home pages would be good. A sort of ‘home page for laptop’. All thoughts welcome.

  31. posted by Mackenzie on

    I went with installing Selfoss on my server. It was an easy install. Unzip the zip, copy the handily provided config file for my webserver, point at my SSL cert, and make a new database in my MySQL. It has tagging, OPML import was added a day after Google’s announcement, so importing old feeds is easy, and I can even set it to require login credentials. The interface is really nice.

  32. posted by Sara on

    After looking around a bit, I have set myself up a netVibes account – it comes with a dashboard which you can set up to your own specifications or choose one of their starter-options (I chose to use their Productivity dashboard to start with, which I have customised). You can set your dashboard to display WidgetView or ReaderView, and you can switch between the two – this was my favourite aspect. There are many widgets you can choose from, or if there are websites you want that are not widgetified you can bookmark them to your dashboard. It’s free unless you choose VIP.

  33. posted by Erem on

    There is a new RSS reader app available at Google Play and Amazon App Store (iPhone/iPad version is coming soon). Its name is erem app http://www.erem-app.com 

    You can import your Google Reader RSS Subscriptions into erem app to continue accessing your same feeds and to use erem app as your Google Reader alternative. Details are written on http://www.erem-app.com/how-to.....criptions/

    Currently, erem app supports 13 languages and presents RSS news sources from 28 countries.

    One interesting feature of erem app is you can define keywords (for politicians, celebrities, sport teams, etc.) and get notified when they appear in the RSS feeds you selected/entered.

    Disclaimer: I am a member of erem app team and we welcome your suggestions.

  34. posted by Google Reader Alternatives on

    I was regular on Google reader but after the shut down I was unaware of these alternatives. Now I’m glad I came across this alternatives, definitely will give a try on each of them soon.

  35. posted by Jason Woo on

    After looking for a while, I found out http://eldonreader.com. It looks just great! You can login with Google, Facebook or Yahoo, Import OPML files and sync your old google reader feeds. There’s no native app for iOS or Android but they HTML5 app just Rock on both platforms. its really worth a look.

  36. posted by Michal on

    An what about to try g2reader.com http://goo.gl/MoVg3

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