While many are unhappy with the decision, it is necessary to mention that Google actually had some valid reasons to power down their very own Google Reader. The app’s popularity started to decline gradually over the past few years and instead of pumping energy and cash into a service that few people utilized, Google chose (to be read was forced) to pull the plug. Now, as they kindly put it, they can focus more on providing a better user experience via their other services.
The decreasing popularity of the Google Reader is not exactly new to the online environment, as we all witnessed how the less visible RSS feature has been replaced with the more popular “follow” option. Frankly, I don’t blame sites and users for this, as the RSS feed could be understood and used mainly by advanced internet users, while novices didn’t even bother with the scary XML doc and the tedious URL copy process.
So, what are advanced internet users suppose to do with their feeds now? Here are 7 alternatives worth checking out.
Because it recently rolled out a web-based reader in addition to the already known iOS and Android apps, Feedly is seen as the best option so far. Even though some users argue that it doesn’t provide them with the same number of feeds as Google Reader, it is well-designed, free and has been optimized for a smoother transition.
- AOL Reader
Even though AOL’s comeback is quite the surprise, the truth is that they’ve done an outstanding job with their reader. Forget everything you knew about AOL, as their revamped reader is simple, fast and smooth. While they didn’t add anything new to the picture, you’ll be happy to learn it comes with full suites of apps for iOS and Android.
If you simply can’t stand the idea of Google Reader being gone for good, then perhaps NewsBlur’s similar interface will make you feel a little better. Moreover, among the highlights of the tool you can find the $1 unlimited monthly subscription as well as the Android and iOS apps for more convenience. On a side note, if you’re not a heavy user you can do without the monthly subscription, although you will be limited to a maximum of 64 feeds.
In the event that you’re a diehard fan of customization and prefer the endless possibilities provided by the numerous styling options, then NetVibes might be just the thing for you. The trump card of this web reader resides in its impressive dashboard settings, a menu that allows you to organize existing feeds or create widgets for folders and feeds, which you can move around as you see fit. The problem with NetVibes is that the developers haven’t launched a mobile app yet, so you’re pretty much stuck to your desktop.
- Digg Reader
Although it isn’t out yet, Digg Reader’s features and its appealing small quick buttons already make it one of the main competitors of Feedly. It boasts a clean and intuitive interface complemented with various social hooks, built-in Instapaper and full-on thumbs-on buttons; can you really ask for more from a RSS subscription tool?
In spite of the fact that Twitter is not a web reader per se, some users consider it could be a valid replacement able to fulfill some of the roles of Google Reader. Keep in mind that because it doesn’t integrate the “unread” feature, you will most likely be able to use it less efficiently than an actual web reader. Still, if you usually spend a lot of time on Twitter and consider yourself a light RSS feed user, then utilizing the social network as a RSS feed tool could work out for you.
- The Old Reader
Given the identical interface and the fact that it allows you to log in with your Google account, you could easily be tempted to believe that The Old Reader is practically Google Reader. However, when you’ll try to log in, you’ll notice an error claiming the web reader is full, so don’t bother as it won’t let enter for the moment. Moreover, the only social integration available is via Facebook and there are no applications available for it for the time being. Nonetheless, current users praise it and see it as a simple and efficient replacement.