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5 Google Reader Alternatives

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If you read many blogs, you probably use an RSS reader, and chances are that RSS reader is Google Reader—or was. Google Reader will be obsolete as of Monday, July 1, so you’ve got three more days to get your feeds transferred to a new reader before you lose all your data. Here are my favorite alternatives:

With 3 million new users since Google Reader announced its impending demise, Feedly is the most popular alternative to Google Reader. Like Reader, it’s free and, of the alternatives, it most closely mirrors the layout and functionality of Google Reader. You can view your feeds in four different formats (Titles, Magazine, Cards, Full Articles), organize them into categories, save them for later, and mark them as read. Some users lament the lack of search function and hotkey shortcuts, but those features are likely on their way. According to David Pogue of the New York Times, “Feedly is what you needly.”

Digg Reader

Digg Reader is rolling out as I write this. To get on board, enter your email on their site and cross your fingers that you receive an invitation by Sunday. Still in the nascent stage, Digg Reader hopes to be everything that Feedly is plus trending notifications and integration. I’m going to download my feeds to both Feedly and Digg Reader until I decide which I like better.

Feed Wrangler
Feed Wrangler gets great reviews. The downside? It costs $19/year. Since I’m already forking out $9.99/month for DropBox storage and $60/year for SmugMug photo and video storage, I’m going to pass on this Mercedes of the RSS reader world. Some people worry that the free alternatives will follow Google Reader to its grave, but I’ll cross that bridge to Hades when I come to it.

FeedBin (not to be confused with Feed Bin) is another paid service. At $2/month, or $20/year, it’s even steeper than Feed Wrangler. For those mourning the lack of hotkey shortcuts in Feedly, Feedbin has those. And its best feature seems to be its Reeder for iPhone integration. For more info, check out this review.

Newsblur is web-based app, so if you’re a desktop reading enthusiast, this may be for you. You can subscribe to 64 feeds for free. After that, you have to upgrade to the premium service for $24/year. You can toggle between feed view or split view. For those of you who have tried out Newsblur in the past, take another look. The site was redesigned in May and, according to The, “NewsBlur is the second-most popular option after Feedly on the site Hardcore users (like Verge editors) like it for its speed, ability to organize feeds into folders, and keyboard shortcuts.”

Other popular Google Reader replacements include Fever (for tech geeks), The Old Reader (another web-based reader), FlipBoard (a free service with a magazine-style layout designed for iOS and Android users), and Pulse (also designed for the visual reader but with desktop capability). And if that’s not enough options for you, here are 63 Google Reader alternatives.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start by downloading your Google Reader feeds. You can always upload them later once you’ve decided which reader you like best. To do this, go to Google Takeout, select Choose Services, click on the Reader button, then Create Archive, then Download (once the archive has been created). Once the download is complete, go to your Downloads folder and open the downloaded ZIP file and look for a file called subscriptions.xml. Move that to your desktop and then save it somewhere secure (like DropBox or Google Drive) until you decide which reader you like best. Or you could just do what I did: Choose Feedly.

What about you? Were you a Google Reader user? Have you switched yet? Which reader did you choose?

18 comments to 5 Google Reader Alternatives

  • Kristan

    Good roundup. I've heard good things about Bloglovin', too, although I didn't try it myself.

    Feedly was overwhelming to me. What I love(d) about Google Reader was its stark simplicity. So that led me to The Old Reader, which is modeled after an older version of Google Reader, but now IMO has surpassed even the current Google Reader (with better shortcuts anyway). There are a couple drawbacks to it (no dedicated iOS app, will not go backward in time infinitely for each feed) but overall I've had a smooth and happy transition, so I can and do recommend it to people looking for alternatives. 🙂

    • meghancward


      Several people have mentioned Bloglovin'! I'll have to try it. I'm testing out both Feedly and Digg, but will probably go with Feedly.

  • I've been using bloglines since Google announced they were getting rid of Reader. I'm happy with it, it's simple and clean (and free).

    • meghancward

      I used Bloglines before Google Reader and then they shut down and I had to switch to Google Reader. Then they came back and I didn't really feel like giving them a second chance.

  • Anthony Lee Collins

    I've been using an Android app called gReader, which I'm very happy with. It drew its feeds from Google Reader, but they say they'll work out something else before Reader goes away. (I have my feeds backed up, just in case).

    • meghancward

      They don't have much time to work something out! I mostly read blogs on my laptop, so I need a reader with desktop capabilities.

  • annerallen

    Thanks for this. Lots of people have asked me the question you've answered here: "What do we do when Google Reader dies?" Will share this everywhere.

  • If you prefer to have your RSS in your email, Blogtrottr is great. Mac mail used to have built-in RSS but got rid of it in Mountain Lion. I personally can't use a reader because it's just one more app to have open, and I can't easily peruse readers. Having it in my email and filtered out to proper folders, I can skim and see them as I check my email. I edit, and Word is a horrible memory hog, so less apps means less Word Rage.

    • meghancward


      Thanks for mentioning Blogtrottr. I used to check Google Reader every day. Now I have my favorite blogs memorized and tend to just type those in when I want to read them. For other feeds, I usually follow links from Twitter. BUT now and then I do check my reader and want to have that option in the future.

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