As of yesterday, Google Reader is no more. So is that the end of RSS (Really Simple Syndication)? Not a chance. It may not be as popular and exciting as it once was, but still remains a useful way to keep up with all of your blogs in one place.
Google Reader was an excellent option for the simple fact it synced feeds between apps, allowing you to start from where you left off, not to mention it was free and easy to use. Other apps don't do this, but there really is no choice. Some users, like The New Yorker's Joshua Rothman, are saddened by the news: “Hearing that Google Reader is shutting down is like hearing that your favorite old bookstore is closing,” said Rothman.
Moving On With A New Service
If you choose wisely, the switch to a new service is painless. Some of the newer options allow you to import your Google Reader data directly to that service, but you have to act fast. Google is granting access to your feeds until July 15th. Here's how to switch your feeds over:
- Go to Google Takeout and select Google Reader.
- Click ‘Create Archive'. Takeout will compile your Google Reader data.
- Click ‘Download Now' and all of your Google Reader data will be downloaded to your computer. The data will include lists, subscriptions, notes, starred items, etc.
- Find the Subscriptions.xml file. This file features all the URLs of the feeds you subscribe to.
- Head to the app of your choice and select the ‘Import' option.
- Select the XML or OPML file on your computer, and import it.
Here are some excellent alternatives to Google Reader:
Feedly. This RSS service seems to be a top choice. There is a magazine view, along with keyboard shortcuts and tag functionality. The real draw to this application: its offering of mobile apps for both iOS and Android, and Feedly Cloud to sync your feeds with other apps such as NextGen Reader. Feedly is the only option that offers a front and backend accessible from multiple platforms for free. You can organize your feeds into different folders, choosing a different view for each folder if you so choose. Of course, it offers sharing among various social networks. A drawback: you can't search through your feeds as you could in Google Reader. Besides this, you'll find Feedly is an excellent replacement.
NewsBlur. If you must get your news the moment it is released to the Web, this is your RSS client of choice. It refreshes feeds every single minute, much better than Google Reader. If you are also a meticulous organizer, you'll love the fact you can nest folders inside of folders – this is the only reader that allows this. Their shortcuts are nice, like opening articles in a background tab by pressing the ‘o' key. See the original web view of the article, teach the app which stories you read the most (it will prioritize these feeds for you), and follow friends as you could in Reader to see what they're reading. The associated mobile apps sync the stories in your ‘Saved Stories' folder, but the Android version could be a lot better.
NetNewsWire 4. Exclusively for Mac users, NetNewsWire was launched in 2002. Your computer runs the app rather than the cloud, so it is a little bit slow, but this new version 4 is faster than the old-school original. The articles look great, enjoy multiple tabs, and watch for the upcoming iOS app that will sync content to the Mac app.
Digg Reader. This app was built to replace Google Reader, adding Digg's knack for spotting online trends. Although it is feature-light compared to Feedly, it gives you quick way to read through your feeds and shows you what's trending on Digg. If you've grown accustomed to Google Reader shortcuts, you'll love that they're the same here, and they also offer an iOS app.
With the demise of Google Reader, other apps such as Press and NextGen Reader are hard at work coming up with a public solution to the backend. Feedly seems to be the best replacement due to its multi-platform compatibility and the fact the Feedly Cloud is the perfect backend solution. Need more solutions? How about some cheap web hosting solutions? Take a look around our site to see what we have found for you!
Do you mourn the loss of Google Reader? What application have you switched to, and how do you like it so far?