Only a few days remain before Google pulls the plug on their popular RSS feed reader, Google Reader. With the closure of this extremely popular reader on July 1, the floodgates have been opened for other services to fill the void that is going to be left behind. While some of the alternatives have relied previously on Google Reader to sync their feeds, some have come up with some alternative solutions while others will simply just go….blank. If you’ve been looking for an alternative to Google Reader, here’s a few that we’ve checked out ourselves.
Exporting Google Reader feeds
Before we dive into the alternatives, here’s a quick and easy way to export your feeds from Google Reader using the Google Takeout services.
First, head into Google Reader and and click on the Gear box right underneath your profile picture in the upper right. From there, head to the Import/Export tab and click to download your Data through Takeout.
Once there, a screen will appear and your data will start to accumulate. Once the box has been filled in to 100 percent you can click on “Create Archive” button. Once this has been done, your feeds will be stored as a zip file in whatever download folder you’ve specified for your browser. If you unzip this file, it will produce an XML file that you can import later to other readers, if they offer an import function.
One of the top alternatives to Google Reader is definitely feedly. Recently, this RSS Reader has moved over to a cloud server of their own and no longer relies on Google Reader. feedly also has opened up their application programming interface (API) for third-party extensions. Developers have created extensions such as gReader, Sprout Social, Press, and Pure News based on this API. As time goes on and more developers flock over to feedly, there will definitely be more apps coming.
feedly synchronizes your feeds extremely fast and has a very nice design and layout, going from a minimalistic list of all your feeds to a more visually pleasing block layout with display pictures. So far, this has been the best alternative in the eventual demise of Google Reader
Flipboard is another alternative that is very near the top of the pack when it comes to alternatives. The colorful news reader scores some major style points with users. Furthermore, there are very rarely any news-sync delays with this service and the updates and almost seamless. Most recently, they’ve enabled an option that allows you to put together your feeds into your own personalized “magazine”.
For those who like to keep all their social media channels in one app can also flock to Flipboard as it provides support for Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ from within. Google Reader feeds can easily be imported to Flipboard, just follow their instructions here.
With Taptu you can register yourself with your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google accounts. One of the main benefits of Taptu is that you can personalize your own news feeds and they are displayed as full articles, so you don’t have to open the article in a browser in order to read it. In addition, Taptu also has a bunch of settings that can be tweaked and customizable widgets.
One of the downsides of taptu is that if you want to import in your Google Reader feeds, you have to do it individually. There is no “Add all” function. In addition, synchronization of news feeds is not completely developed and there is a noticeable lag between updates. But, taptu is continually evolving and will most likely see some more support for it as time goes on.
By design, Pulse News is in need of some polishing. For example, their folders can only contain a certain amount of feeds and there is no timestamp for news items in the feed, so you may be unsure of what is new and what is not.
Integration from Google Reader does work with Pulse News, but you do need to do the tedious task of approving each and every feed source that you import. Right now, Pulse News is intergrade with your Google Account, so there is really no news on what will happen to the feeds within when Google closes down Google Reader in less than a weeks time.
Google Currents is basically a souped-up version of a magazine reader: very colorful and easy on the eyes. The synchronization with Google Reader is available following the method that we laid out at the start of this article, importing the archived XML file by clicking the “Add Subscriptio” button from within the app.
As with Taptu, you will need to individually confirm each and every feed. Unfortunately, there are still some issues with synchronization as it’s not as fluid and seamless as you’d expect from Google and there is no way to view all your feeds in a chronological order.
Another alternative out there is Newsblur. While seeming to look like a pretty good replacement, further investigation reveals more bad than good. While the integration with Google Reader is pretty impressive, you can only import 64 subscriptions for free while using Newsblur. Should you want more, you can pay about 2 dollars a month for this privilege. As well, “free” users suffer from a lower refresh rate than that of people who pay for the service and this incurs large delays between feeds.
A really handy function for Newsblur is their training function. A relevant feed that is often read or browsed will be highlighted by the service, taking user behavior into account. Overall, however, Newsblur has quite a long load time even with a stable wireless connection. And with the closure of Google Reader imminent, it’s unclear as to whether the feeds will still be in place next week. All we know is an indication from the app description saying that the developers are working on a fix.
Tiny Tiny RSS
Tiny Tiny Rss is a server-based feed reader that is considered open source. While having the freedom of an open source project is handy for developers and people who like to play around “behind the scenes” of their app, it does require a little bit of tinkering in order to get on your device. For specific instructions on how to do so, jump on over here.
Digg RSS Reader and gReader
Digg RSS Reader is a relatively newcomer to the game, just jumping into the beta stages recently. As reported on the digg blog, the Digg RSS Reader will have a pretty basic and easy to use system to import Google Reader feeds and will be still functioning after next week. An app for Android is expetected to arrive sometime in July. While there will be a free version of the Digg Reader, a premium version will also be available. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for more information on this.
Another option is the gReader app, which has been pretty popular during the life of Google Reader. Even with the shutdown of Google Reader, the developers are working on a new version of the app in which they are planning to names News+. News+ will be online soon and is available as a trial version here if you’d like to check it out.
Everybody has a different criteria for what they want out of an RSS Reader. For some, it’s all about a pleasing way to display the information and for others, it making sure the service updates seamlessly and effectively. For myself, as long as I can organize my feeds in a manner that is comfortable and easy to access, I’m happy as a pig in dirt.
Right now, I’ll continue to jump between feedly and gReader for my daily RSS needs. They do everything that I need for the time being, but I’ll always be keeping my eye out for the next up and coming service.