Google Reader is Dead
Google last night announced that it will be discontinuing its Google Reader service on July 1 2013. This will come as sad news to many, especially those with an interest in the tech industry and its many news sources. There is a petition running to keep it going, but it may be in vain at this point.
At the moment there are not a huge number of alternatives to Google Reader – it’s extremely difficult for independent rival services to compete with a company like Google when it comes to free tools like Reader. However, there are a few good ones available which we’ll run through below, and we’ll no doubt see a few more emerge now that Google has chucked the towel in.
Firstly, a quick run-through of how to backup/export your data from Reader. Clicking this link will take you directly to the Google Takeout process for Reader. Alternatively, you can click the settings icon (top right) within the Google Reader interface, click the import/export tab and then click the link at the bottom to download your data through Takeout. It’ll take a few minutes to create the file, which can then be downloaded as a zip.
Google Reader Alternatives
The great thing about Google Reader is that it offers easy to organise feeds, which are searchable and expandable. There are also a few nice add ons, such as a link to save to Pocket, star an item for IFTTT triggers and other share options. Hopefully we’ll soon see services that can offer all this and more. In the meantime, here are a few worthy alternatives.
Bare in mind that if you do try to switch services now, some of these may be under a bit of a heavy load due to the Reader announcement, so don’t judge too harshly if performance is slow.
NewsBlur is a paid for service, priced at $1 per month which is a reasonable price. It does have a free tariff with restricted usage, but if you’re a Google Reader power user you’ll definitely need premium. It has a web app, plus native apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia MeeGo. It’s fully open-source (available here on GitHub) and the developer also has a full-scale redesign in the works.
Feeds from Google Reader can be easily imported.
Feedly is a service that had already been growing in popularity prior to Google’s announcement. It has apps for Chrome, Firefox, Android and iOS. At the moment it does feed of Google Reader, but the Feedly team has been anticipating this news for a while by the sound of it, saying on its blog that the ‘transition will be seamless’ when Google Reader shuts down and feeds are switched to Feedly’s own backend.
Netvibes is an RSS Reader that also encompasses a social media dashboard. This does mean that it may be a bit cluttered compared to the simplicity that Google Reader offers. There is a free version that has some features restricted, such as search which is likely to be pretty integral to Google Reader fans.
There are some other options out there to try, including various RSS desktop clients. Personally I’d find it hard to move away from a cloud based service now, especially to a desktop solution that isn’t cross-platform. There’s also apps such as FlipBoard, or you could no doubt come up with some kind of hacky Twitter solution, but they don’t come close to rivalling Google Reader. One of the above should be a good starting place and no doubt we’ll see further developments in the coming months.