Some say RSS died years ago, but tell that to the many Google Reader users voicing their disappointment online. If you’re a Google Reader user, by now you have probably heard the news that Google is retiring Reader as part of their latest focusing efforts. If you’re not familiar with Google Reader, in a nutshell it is an application that allows you to subscribe to website RSS feeds. Many websites provide RSS feeds, which syndicate their content and allow applications like Google Reader to pull it in. You can think of it like a personalized web “newspaper”, pulling in this content from the websites you choose and viewing all of this content from a single interface. In many cases it’s more efficient than visiting all of these websites one-by-one.
While Google Reader hasn’t been updated in some time and the writing may have been on the wall, it’s still a blow to those of us who counted Google Reader as an important cog in their daily news-aggregating workflow. I personally was a heavy Google Reader user, and we have recommended it to a number of our clients who wanted to aggregate news from a variety of sources related to their business. This change isn’t going to happen immediately, as Google has indicated they will keep the lights on till July 1, 2013. However, you don’t want to be left rushing to find a replacement when that day comes. So, what are some good Google Reader alternatives?
I looked at two possible replacements to Google Reader – Feedly and Pulse. After a quick assessment, both seemed like they would give me a very similar experience to Google Reader. After a bit more investigation, I ultimately went with Feedly, and after a few weeks of use I can say that I’m very happy. Setting up Feedly was easy, as you just have to sign in with your Google account and it imports your existing feeds directly from Google Reader. Feedly allows me to view my feeds like I did with Google Reader, but also adds some other display options to make it more visual, like a magazine. This is a nice option for design, art, or photography websites and blogs. They have iOS and Android apps, as well as browser plugins that all connect to your account and keep your activity in sync. They even have a blog post dedicated to Google Reader users to ease the transition.
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation that gives you what you had with Google Reader and then some, I’d say give Feedly a try. If you want to try out a few different solutions, I’d say try Feedly, Pulse, and, if you can wait, see what Digg comes up with too later this year.
Are there any that I missed? Let me know in the comments.
(Image by bmills)