Good-Bye to Google Reader
Yesterday Google announced that it is discontinuing Google Reader, their very popular and useful RSS reader in July of 2013. You can read more information on this at the Google Reader Blog, “Powering Down Google Reader“. If you are like me, you probably use Google Reader to follow a lot of your favorite websites and blogs, and maybe even this one. This was kind of a shock to me, and I immediately started looking for alternatives so that I can make sure my feeds get migrated. So below I have outlined some options you could consider to use to replace Google Reader.
One of the options I looked at was NewsBlur. NewsBlur is a good cloud based option, providing a site you can setup your RSS feeds. It has an interface very similar to Google Reader, making the transition a little smoother. As they are cloud based, there are also Android and iOS apps for NewsBlur so you can read your RSS feeds on your mobile device.
Another cloud based solution I found, and so far this is my preference, is Feedly. Feedly is a browser extension that can be installed for both Firefox and Chrome. Once installed it will connect to your Google Reader account and pull your feeds down. This one is also cloud based, and there is a Feedly app for both Android, and iOS apps, giving you the ability to sync your feeds across your mobile devices. The interface of Feedly is a bit different, but after some moving around in the preferences I got it setup so it works for me. And with some of the customization I think anyone could get used to Feedly. What really sets Feedly apart is that they have been working with the Google Reader API, so that they are promising a smooth transition when July comes and Google shutsdown Google Reader. This means if you move your RSS feeds to Feedly, you shouldn’t have any problems once Google Reader shuts down. More information regarding this can be found on their blog, Transitioning from Google Reader to Feedly.
There are also some other great locally installed clients that you can also use, such as FeedDemon. But honestly I avoided these as I wanted something more cloud based that would sync across all my devices, much like Google Reader does.
Although, after my initial shock from hearing about Google Reader I did stop to think how much I use RSS feeds still. While I do follow a few things, I do not use RSS feeds as much as I used to. In fact lately I have been transitioning to following websites and other online services on Twitter. Twitter in a lot of ways has become my RSS feed. I use it to follow mostly businesses and tech related news, while using Facebook to keep in touch with people, family, and friends. However there are still a couple of sites in Google Reader that are not on Twitter, so I have wanted to make sure to come up with something. But looking forward, I wonder if we are going to see more and more RSS feed services like this fall in favor of social media. And I also wonder, if that is maybe one of the reasons Google decided to shutdown Google Reader?