We are in mourning. Google Reader was laid to rest officially this week. We were big fans of the service- it was a robust RSS reader which sourced news thoroughly, suiting our needs down to the ground. But life must go on.
So what are the alternatives?
There are many alternatives out there. Here are the two we’ve tried.
Just like when you have to get rid of your favourite pair of shoes and the pair you buy to replace them are never quite the same, they’re just not as good as the original but soon you will learn to love them.
The Old Reader
When we first learned a few months ago that Google Reader was living on borrowed time, we immediately switched to ‘The Old Reader’.
This is very similar to Google Reader and provides almost the exact same services and experiences. It is called the Old Reader because that’s exactly what it is. It was conceived initially to give users the old Google Reader experience when Google made a number of changes to Google Reader a few years ago. It is very simple and straightforward. You can log in using Google or Facebook. But it is our interim choice however, as it does feel a bit, well, old. As indeed Google Reader felt in the last few years.
We plan to move to ‘Feedly’ in the near future.
Feedly appears to be the most popular RSS reader of choice out there as it has many of the features Google Reader possessed but also offers many more. You can jazz it up a bit and experiment with different layouts, depending on how you prefer to have news presented and on what device you use. You can either have a simple list or headlines with images. It is much more visually pleasing than Old Reader, and the multi device support (web, iOS and Android) is very handy.
Feeds and logging in is also easily transferrable from Google. Phew! Just make sure you download your feed before July 15th otherwise it’ll be lost forever!
The only reason why we haven’t switched to Feedly yet is its current lack of a sharing feature. Since we work across multiple account teams it is important for us to share our feeds with each other. This was the best feature of Google Reader in my opinion. The Old Reader can’t share feeds either, but we migrated to that first so aren’t in any rush to make another switch just yet.
Good news though – Feedly announced that a feed sharing feature is in the works!!! As soon as it’s live we’ll be making the transition to a greener, shinier world.
This reader has a fairly similar layout to The Old Reader. Key features of this reader include saving stories to read later and it allows you to see which articles are trending online. It does have a social network sharing option, however, Digg is still in the development days and is adding more features you would be accustomed to finding on a newsreader service. It’s not fully locked and loaded yet like other services.
Newsblur is the next popular choice it seems behind Feedly but the biggest strike against it is that it costs $24 a year. There is a free version available but by subscribing to the premium account numerous restrictions are unlocked. The number of sites you can subscribe to is unlimited, the number of stories you get at a time and frequency of site updates is greater and you get immediate instant access.
Not as visually easy on the eye as other readers, NetVibes looks cluttered so it’s not ideal if you have a lot of news feeds. You can organise topics into different tabs and it is very quick at updating content. Probably its best feature.
If you were avid Google Readerers like us, what have you ended up using?