Top 30 best Google Reader alternatives (RSS feeds)
Google announced yesterday that they will be shutting down Google Reader on July 1, 2013. Google Reader is basically a custom tailored Google News service that shows you only articles from the news sources that you want. We’re big fans of Google Reader and use it every day, therefore we’re saddened by its demise.
This is somewhat of a surprising move as Google Reader is quite popular and very well received. On the other hand, since Larry Page became CEO in April 2011, he has been shutting Google services left and right so we shouldn’t have been too surprised–we were. Most notably, he’s shut down several popular services such as Google Labs, iGoogle, Google Video, Google Translate API, etc.
Why is Google shutting down Google Reader? Google had the following statement:
If you’d like to read more about Google Reader’s demise, check out Wired’s article called “RIP: Google Reader Meets Its Inevitable End“.
Also, here’s an interesting snippet from TechCrunch’s article Google Reader’s Death Is Proof That RSS Always Suffered From Lack Of Consumer Appeal
TechCrunch argues that Google Reader must die because users receive enough news from Twitter, Flipboard and Facebook. For many reasons, we respectfully disagree. Just because our friend likes an article, doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll like it. Also, if you rely solely on social networking apps to get your news, you’ll be missing on a whole lot of news.
Last year, Google removed the ability to share articles on Google Reader and replaced it with Google +1 buttons. The trend these days is to make everything more social. Many people may ask: “How can we make our service or business more social?”. Our opinion is that not everything has to be more social. A dedicated RSS reader is useful in its present form.
In any event, let’s see what the front page of the internet recommends. Reddit has been discussing this matter for the last day in a post titled What are some good web RSS readers to replace google reader? (self.AskReddit). What we find ironic is that Google is shutting down Google Reader because of its declining usage. However, all of the alternative Google Reader services posted in that thread were overwhelmed with Reddit traffic and went offline (at least at some point). We imagine that a few million (pure speculation) Google Reader users is probably not enough to make it worthwhile for Google. Also of note, there’s already a petition asking Google not to shut down Google Reader. It already has over 67,000 signatures. You can sign here if you like.
You may also be interested in Lifehacker’s article that they published today called Google Reader Is Shutting Down; Here Are the Best Alternatives. The article gives various recommendations and it explains you how to export your existing Google Reader feed into an alternative reader. Today, we’ve read about 30 articles on what are the best Google Reader alternatives and below is our summary. Ars Technica thinks that Google Reader will rise from the ashes in some way integrated with Google+. Also, Digg has stated on its blog that they were dismayed that Google is shutting down Google Reader and that they will try to fill the void by building a dedicated RSS Reader themselves–starting today.
A RSS reader can take many different forms. It can be purely web based (which is what we prefer for desktop purposes), it can be web based, but hosted on your own web server, it can be in the form of a Windows application, it can be in the form a browser plugin/add-on (e.g. Feedly) , it can be an app for Android or iOS (Winmo8 and BB10 doesn’t exist as far as we’re concerned). We’ll discuss what some of the best alternatives below.
It’s probably Feedly, Taptu or The Old Reader. We could’ve ended the article here, but we’ll list other alternatives so that people can make up their own decision. According to the Reddit thread mentioned above and the 30 articles or so articles that we’ve read so far today, the top contenders are below. There are plenty more RSS readers out there (especially for iOS and Android), but this is the list that we’ve compiled so far. We haven’t tried most of these services, but we wanted to just let our readers know that they exist. The following is listed in no particular order, but we’ll start with our favorite :)
Feedly is by far our favorite iOS and Android RSS reader. On Android, it is much better than Google’s own Google Currents. How does it fare as a web RSS reader? We’ve never used it as a web based reader before and we’re not entirely sold yet, but it looks interesting. To use Feedly as a web based reader, you need to install a chrome plugin or a firefox add-on. Once you click on the little icon in your toolbar, it brings you to your feedly webpage. Also, according to a poll on Ars Technica’s site, Feedly is the most recommended Google Reader alternative (we’re not surprised). Out of +5,000 votes, Feedly captured the top spot with 30% of the votes. Feedly for web looks something like below.
Feedly also announced today that existing Feedly users will be migrated to its new backend called Normandy (as Feedly is currently dependent on Google Reader to function). The transition will be seamless, therefore no action is required. You can reviews on Feedly for Firefox here or Feedly for Chrome here.
We also like that Feedly supports keyboard shortcuts–a necessity for us. You can view the keyboard shortcuts by pushing “?” when you’re on Feedly and the below window will appear.
The Old Reader (free)
The Old Reader is basically a clone of the old Google Reader as it was in 2011. If you liked the feel of Google Reader then you’ll feel right at home with The Old Reader. Adding subscription feeds is not nearly as easy as with Google Reader, but you can just import all your feeds. They’re been inundated with import feed requests and have therefore temporarily put that feature on hold. It looks interesting.
Pulse for Web (free)
We didn’t even know that Pulse had a version for web. We tried it our briefly, but we remain unconvinced. It seems like there’s too much “bling” for us, but that’s just our opinion. We think that Pulse is better on tablets and phones.
Taptu for Web (free)
Once again, we didn’t realize that Taptu had a version for Web, but we actually kind of like its layout and simplicity. We’ll definitely be trying this out again.
There’s a free version, but we don’t like to use crippled software. Therefore, we pass.
There’s a free version, but it limits you to 10 stories at a time and a max of 64 feeds. No thanks.
You can add RSS feeds to your MyYahoo page, but it’s not exactly elegant. We haven’t been to Yahoo and a while and boy is it a mess.
If you would like an ultra simple or minimalist RSS reader twitter style. You should check out Skimr. It’s free to use and very light weight. It’s cute, but it’s a bit overly simplistic for us.
We like that you don’t even need to sign in to start seeing feeds, but a bit too simplistic for our taste.
We’ve tried using it for a few minutes, but we don’t think that we can get used to it. Feel free to give it a try and decide for yourself.
It looks kinda neat, but probably not polished enough for us.
We didn’t try FeedBooster, but it could be a decent alternative.
We’re not ashamed to admit it. We’re big Feedly fans and Feedly excels on Android and iOS. So in case you haven’t figured it out already, Feedly is our favorite RSS readers for iOS and Android. For Android, other popular alternatives are Flipboard, Pulse, Taptu, Press ($3), Zite and Google Currents. For more Android alternatives, check out this post on Androidandme.com. For iOS, other popular alternatives are Flipboard, Pulse, Taptu, Reeder ($5) and Zite.
Flipboard is available for iOS and Android. We’ve never really liked the Facebook integration, but it’s extremely popular, so we thought that we’d mention it. Also, it’s pretty.
Reeder may be one of the best serious RSS readers for iOS. However, Reeder is dependent on Google Reader to function. Fortunately, the developer has reassured its fans “not to worry”
Zite’s layout is quite attractive, but we’ve never tried it yet. It looks pretty polished.
Google Currents (free)
Google released Google Currents not too long ago. It’s quite good, but we still prefer Feedly for Android devices. Give it a try and see for yourself.
Press got a lot of *ahem* press when it was first announced a few months ago and it has received very good feedback from users and reviewers. Press is also dependent on Google Reader to function, but the author has announced plans to migrate the back end, therefore it will survive.
If you have a web server and you would like host your own web based RSS reader, check out the following apps. We host a lot of things on web servers, therefore we have the “tech know how” but we’re not really interested in hosting our own RSS reader as we have enough to manage as it is. However, if you don’t want to be dependent on anyone, the below options may be for you.
Leed (free, but French)
There are also various Windows app based RSS readers, you can see a few below. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend a Windows App to read RSS feeds, but others may disagree. Using a web based RSS feed reader seems so much more convenient.
Microsoft Outlook (paid)
It’s not a well known feature, but you can add RSS feeds to Microsoft Outlook. It can be very useful if you use Outlook at the office and you’d like to read feeds on the DL. You can follow instructions here if you’d like to give it a try.
Readefine has a very interesting layout. Too bad there’s no web based version.
RSS Owl (free)
Feed Notifier (free)
This app is a bit different than the others as pop ups appear from the task bar. We find it a bit intrusive, but if you’re looking for something like that, check it out.
RSS Bandit (free)
FeedDemon (paid) — FeedDemon announced that they will be shutting down as they are also dependent on Google Reader to run.
Omea Reader (free)
WebReader (also available on iOS, Android)
That’s it! If you notice any omissions or errors, please leave a note below and we’ll update the article.