As I went through my morning ritual one day last week, you know sipping coffee and going through emails, I was greeted by a nasty little message when I opened up my Google Reader. “Google Reader will not be available after July 1, 2013.”
Sure. As many people know, the whole RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is kinda obsolete. But that doesn’t change the fact that for a lot of people Google Reader was their main source of news. It was tailored for your tastes and interests, came directly from the source and was part of a daily habit for millions of people. If you think I’m exaggerating on the importance of Google Reader in people’s lives, then why would thousands of people sign a White House Petition demanding that Google halt the departure of Reader?
Maybe Google heard us loud and clear. Or, maybe they’re some of the most evil people to roam the earth. Because on March 20, just a week into the announcement of Reader’s demise, Google began removing links from its top menus. So as Gmail users, for example, went to open their Reader it wasn’t there. While the Reader itself remains intact, Google is systematically removing Reader from all its menus. Besides vanishing in Gmail, the Reader app is also gone from the Play Store.
So much for that July 1 deadline.
Now that Google is slowly getting rid of Reader, now’s a better time than any to jump ship. Here are the five best RSS client alternatives to Google Reader.
Two weeks before Google announced the end of Reader, Skimr debuted. It was created by three guys in Prague who wanted to make a simpler version of Reader. The result is — your feeds being placed on a large, bright, and beautiful single-column list. And, yes, you can add feeds directly from the Skimr Directory, import an OPML file, or add a website URL/RSS feed. Since Skimr is browser-based, there are no downloads or signing in, and it will always be current. However, there are some flaws. It can’t handle a lot of feeds and everything is placed into an alphabetized column as opposed to folders.
The classic and popular app Flipboard has plenty to offer. It can used to tie in all of your Twitter, Facebook, and Google Reader subscriptions into one location that looks like a futuristic magazine. You can easily flip through the pages, which not only load quickly but are also easy on the eyes. The biggest disappointment with Flipboard is that it places all of your feeds into one section, so you’ll have to add them individually.
NewsBlur may not be the most-attractive looking RSS client, but it has plenty of great features. Its format is very similar to Reader, and you can connect through Google and import your subscriptions. It also has features like being able to hide the stories you do not want to see and highlighting the ones that interest you. And it refreshes your feeds every minute, which puts Reader to shame. The only downside to NewsBlur is that it costs $2 / month to subscribe to more than 64 feeds.
2. The Old Reader
The Old Reader Twitter
The Old Reader has essentially mimicked Google Reader and you can transfer feeds directly from your Google Reader account. This makes it one of the easier RSS clients to adjust to. And it’s free! However, it’s not exactly perfect. It has a lengthy wait list if you want to transfer your OPML feed, and it doesn’t have an App as of now. It’s still in Beta but there is definitely potential here.
After the announcement of Reader’s departure, people began flocking to Feedly. In fact, Feedly is posed to become the top feed aggregator. So, what makes it theoverall reader?
To begin with, you can sync up your current subscriptions by signing into Feedly with your Google info. Besides not doing anything else except signing in, you can also share your feeds on Twitter, FB,and emails. Furthermore, the interface is more appealing than Readers. And you can divide your feeds into different folders, such as “headlines,” “mosaic,” or “timeline.” Oh. Did we mention it’s free? If Feedly gets their upcoming Normandy API (pretty much a Google Reader API clone) they will be your only choice.