Finding a Google Reader Alternative
As you may have heard, Google Reader will soon be no more. July 1st, Google will be shutting down its popular RSS reader much to many people’s disappointment. Some of you might wonder, why do you need an RSS reader? I have found using a reader makes it much easier to keep up with the blogs I follow. I know when there is a new post, can categorize them and easily save favorites. I am getting desperate in my quest to find a new RSS reader. Change is always hard, but I never dreamed it would be this difficult to find a new RSS reader. With so many choices out there, you would think it would be fairly simple. I am finding it just the opposite. Seriously, is it that difficult to keep a RSS reader just that, simple? What do I like about Google? It is easy to use with a simple format. Not a lot of bells and whistles, but no junk cluttering up my screen real estate either. I have tried several different readers, and I might have found one that will work almost as well as Google Reader.
Here are a few of the top Google Reader alternatives:
The Old Reader
The Old Reader was built to be a replacement for Google Reader. It is still in beta. It does look a lot like Google Reader. It is free and very simple to use. There is not a mobile app yet, but you can use the website on your mobile pretty well. When I went to import my subscriptions from Google Reader to The Old Reader, I got a message that there are 13,960 users in the import queue ahead of me! Their site is slow with all the imports it is working on. The Old Reader is a popular choice, it seems.
NewsBlur looks very similar to Google Reader. I found when I tried to sign up the first time that the free accounts are temporarily suspended due to overwhelming demand. You can choose to sign up for a premium account, if you don’t want to wait until they let more free users sign up. Another downside, free accounts are capped at 64 blogs. If you are a serious blog reader, you will need to subscribe to their premium version for $24 a year for unlimited blogs. There are apps available for Newsblur for the iPhone, iPad and Android. For me, I just want to try it, before I buy it.
NetVibes is more than just a reader. It is a personalized dashboard tool to use for all your news and social media plus a reader. You can add widgets for news, weather, finance, Facebook, Twitter, shopping, games or whatever you are interested in. You can switch out of the widgets mode, but I found it to be too much for me. All I am looking for is a simple and easy to use reader, and I am really not interested in all the widgets.
Feedly is another popular RSS news reader and aggregator. One of the most popular features is that it syncs with Google Reader. That won’t do much good come July 1st though. They are building a new sync engine, so that once Google shuts Reader down, you can continue to use their service. It is more than just an RSS reader. It has a “Save for Later” feature and a History feature, so you can easily go back to see what you have recently read. Feedly does not work with Window Explorer, so that puts this one out for me. If you don’t mind Firefox or Chrome, Feedly might be a good fit.
Pulse is another news aggregator that you can use to keep up with your favorite blogs. The sites are laid out in a tiled approach perfect for using touch screens. Pulse has some great features. You can easily save stories for later, share with friends or send them to Evernote. Pulse has web and mobile apps for iOS and Android. I really like the Pulse magazine like interface, but found it hard to track what I have read and what is new.
Once you find a new reader, you want to give a try, you can easily export your subscriptions from your Google Reader. Click the Cog button>Reader Settings>Import/Export and choose to Download your data and click to Create Archive. Some of the other readers make it really easy and sync right from Google Reader.
There are many more options out there than the ones here. I picked just a few to try, and it looks like Newsblur is going to be my new favorite. It is simple. I can easily see which blogs have new posts and it syncs between my devices. I can share or save posts for later. That is everything I need in a reader. The downside, I will have to pay to use it or trim down my list of blogs to 64. I might really like The Old Reader, but I am still waiting on my import. Only 12,272 users ahead of me now. Did you find a reader that works perfect for you? Let me know which one you plan to use.
Scott Hirschfeld is the President of CTaccess, an Elm Grove IT support company that has been helping small businesses stop focusing on IT and getting back to doing business since 1990. Under his leadership CTaccess provides the business minded approach of larger IT companies with the personalized touch of the smaller ones. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.