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 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 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 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.