RIP Google Reader

With a week to go before Google Reader joins the choir invisible, I thought I should talk about it briefly.

I use Google Reader though, truth be told, losing it won’t be a big deal for me.  RSS aggregators are still a major component of the blogging world, though, even in this age of social media, and my Feedburner stats tell me quite a few of my readers use them.  And that Google Reader is the most popular, by far.

I don’t want to get into the politics and economics of why Google did this – I have my views, but there are plenty of places for that discussion.  I’m more interested in the practical – if you use Google Reader to follow Lost in America, you’ll need to choose another method.  I won’t claim to have done any real research myself because, as I mentioned, I don’t use aggregators all that much.  But you can (ironically) Google “Google Reader replacement” and find thousands of articles on the topic.  Here’s a link to one I found pretty helpful.

A few things stand out for me: Feedly seems to be the flavor-of-the-week among soon to be GR refugees.  Digg has a new reader coming out this week, as does – wait for it – AOL.  Noticing a trend?  The market is getting very busy.  There are a lot of options out there, many of them are free, and some of them are quite good by the looks of it.  I know the pain of losing an application one finds vital and irreplaceable – the lack of an alternative to Windows Live Writer was the roughest part of my transition to OSX.  But there do seem to be some very good alternatives to Google Reader.

Lastly, if you have a large list of sites you follow using GR, you’ll want to make sure and back up your data before 7/1.  As well, some and not all of the alternatives offer seamless transitions from Reader – you might want to factor that in when you make your choice.

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6 comments

  1. R

    Thank you Enzo. This is a different but a very good topic. Love that you share solutions to something that may affect the daily lives of your readers, and love that you care about your readers.

    To be honest, I am one of those who have shifted to Facebook and Twitter as I rely on my mobile devices more. It's just easier as a one-stop shop to connect with family and friends while getting new feeds. However, I admit that both networks are not good tools for getting all the content that I wanted.

    The link that you provided is very helpful — love the quick snapshot that compares the different options. I love WordPress. It's so easy for a techno dummy like me. Feedly is really good — love how easy I can use it on my mobile devices and that it syncs everything with my Mac. I tried Flipboard on my tablet — the layout is beautiful — but I seldom frequent the app lately. I wanted to try Pulse — heard that is a good one as well — but haven't got time to explore.

    By the way, love that your blog is mobile friendly — it's so much easier to read on my phone than other sites, such as RC.

  2. l

    Feedly has been doing the most 'marketing' since Google announced they were shutting down GR, which is why you're probably seeing that particular app getting mentioned a lot. To their credit, they do make the transition as painless as possible, or at least that's the impression I get from all the comments I get.

    I'm pretty old-skool on the desktop when it comes to RSS/Atom feeds. Do a search fro "newsbeuter" and you'll see how old-skool I'm talking about. I have heard good things about Backstitch (http://backstit.ch/) though, so that might be one to keep an eye on if you're a GUI type. Flipboard migh be popular, and while good as a native app on mobile devices, is a total turd on a desktop browser.

    Still undecided on what to use on mobile platforms. I use Reeder on the iPhone, but it's post-GR future is still a bit iffy. On my Android tablet, I rely on Press, which already has the proper framework in place, so I shouldn't notice anything cum July 1st. That's the theory, at least.

    I'm actually not pleased with the way Google seems to be 'consolidating' all their services into Google+. First, it was with Gmail, where all Gmail and Android account registrees were automatically Google+ users as well. Then it was turning GoogleTalk into Hangouts, again with Google+ integration. We're seeing the same for GR now. They weren't happy that GR drives more traffic than G+, I suppose.

  3. f

    For the longest time I just used Firefox's Live Bookmarks feature for following RSS feeds, but eventually I started following too many feeds and had to find a better option. Never jumped on the Google Reader bandwagon because I try to avoid Google products (I don't support their views on privacy), but I'm now using Feedly. I can't really compare it to other aggregators, because I haven't tried any others, but I'll second the recommendation because I like it a lot. I use both the desktop version and the mobile app.

  4. S

    I've been looking for alternatives since Goolge's announcement a couple of months ago.

    Personally I found netvibes quite efficient managing all my RSS feeds.

  5. K

    I tried feedly didn't like it.

    Honestly I have not found a reader that I liked to replace Google. I follow you on twitter and that seems to work on keeping me up-to-date on your posts. Even if I miss a tweet if I see one I usually backtrack. Of course that is only with your website.

    There are a lot of other sites that I used to follow on Google Reader (such as the Japanese Yahoo auctions) that I haven't found a good replacement for.

  6. Z

    Just goes to show how dependent on certain technologies people are these days.

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