When the gods dance...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

RIP Google Reader: here’s what to use instead

Posted: 13 Mar 2013 07:35 PM PDT
rss-iconsSo Google is shutting down Google Reader and the Twitterati are up in arms. What’s a old-fashioned RSS-loving web geek to do?
Move to another product, unfortunately, and suck it up: most transitions are painful, will result in your feed organization disappearing or getting mangled, and will require work that you didn’t want to do.
However, here are some of the top alternative options:
  1. Feedly
    Great free, minimalistic RSS reader that lives right insider your favorite browser, with mobile apps. BONUS: the site is working on a feedly clone of the Google API reader, and will be able to seamlessly transition Google Reader users over to Feedly.
  2. NetVibes
    Yes, it has an RSS reader, but it’s also a social media monitoring and analytics solution, so it may not be as clean as you might like. Free for basic personal use.
  3. NewsBlur
    Free accounts for up to 64 sites, paid for above. Web, iOS, and Android clients. Note that the site is getting absolutely slammed right now as the Google Reader announcement hits, so it may take a while to load for you.
  4. RSSOwl
    A desktop client for Windows, if that’s your thing. Free.
  5. FeedDemon
    Another desktop client which claims to be the “most popular RSS reader for Windows.” Also free.
  6. Pulse
    Beautiful social magazine, but perhaps more work to create and maintain your lists of blogs and sites than Google Reader was. Free, and available for iOS, Android, and the web.
  7. Flipboard
    The original social magazine made from your Twitter feeds, Facebook friends, Flickr contacts, and, until this summer, your Google Reader feeds. Free, beautiful, but low informational density. iOS and Android only, no web version, and no desktop version.
  8. NetNewsWire
    Another desktop client, this one for Mac. Also has a iPad and iPhone version, and syncs with Google Reader, so it may be able to get your Google Reader feeds. However, it doesn’t look like it is under active development, based on the app’s website.
  9. Liferea
    One more desktop client, but for Linux. Free and open source, and includes Google Reader sync while supporting Google Reader labels. Just hit 1.10 release candidate, and sure to get more popular now with Google Reader’s demise.
None of these exactly fit the niche that Google Reader fills, but that is the pain of relying on a solution from a company that can withdraw the product at any given.

One thing to keep in mind, as a software developer in my coworking space said today about the shutdown:
“I’m only going to use an open-source project for my RSS reader, because I want to have control over it, and make sure it will continue to exist,” Aras Balali. “It’s a bit of work, but it’s worth it.

photo credit: mattgalligan via photopin cc

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