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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What I'm Using Instead of Google Reader

Posted by on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 7:50 AM

A little over a month ago, Google announced that they were killing their RSS feed service, Google Reader. In the time since that happened, I've tried a number of Google Reader alternatives. I tried a few software-side readers like Vienna, but they were too slow and lacked the instantaneous refreshes of a web-based reader. I use Flipboard and Zite for leisure reading, but the magazine-like layouts aren't ideal for heavy web consumption, where I need the newest information first. It seems that Feedly is the most popular of the Google Reader replacements to date, but again, it lacks a certain seriousness. I can't absorb as much information in a single glance with Feedly that I'd like.

So I've basically got my options narrowed down to two choices: I like The Old Reader because it looks exactly like Google Reader did back when Google Reader was at its best. But I've found it to be occasionally unreliable. I attribute a lot of those problems—outages and periods when the Reader doesn't update very often at all—to lots of Google users checking out their remaining options. But I need my reader to work whenever I'm at work.

So for the most part, I've been using NewsBlur. I paid for an account—$24 for a year, and I consider $2 a month to be a steal for how much I use an RSS reader—and it's been totally reliable since then. It lets me view the whole of one story while still keeping an eye on all the unread stories beneath the one I'm looking at, it's been lightning-fast for several weeks now, and it constantly updates. I haven't messed around with the social features, for the most part (I never much used Google Reader's social features, either), but it's the most reliable, Google Reader-like experience I've seen. I'm curious to see what Digg comes up with, but right now some of the dust from Google announcement has settled, and I'm perfectly content to work with NewsBlur every day.


Comments (21) RSS

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Thank you for the recommend. I tried all the free alternatives I could find and didn't like any of them, including The Old Reader and Feedly. I'm ready to try paid options, including NewsBlur and Rivered. And they cost way less than I'd be willing to pay to keep my Google Reader. Thanks again for your research.
Posted by Becky P. on May 7, 2013 at 2:58 PM · Report this
I've used the built in Opera reader for years. Gets a little slow and flaky when it gets stuffed then the searches for old feeds goes slow. Interface is easy.
Posted by rokrie on April 25, 2013 at 6:58 AM · Report this
Chip 19
I'm saddest about losing the ninjas that pop out of Reader when you put in the Konami code.
Posted by Chip on April 24, 2013 at 11:52 AM · Report this
bearseatbeats 18
Maybe try the Pulse app for mobile and I've been using it for a while and quite like it, though it's definitely a bit different than Reader.
Posted by bearseatbeats on April 24, 2013 at 11:47 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 17
@16 - I've been noticing that, too. Overall, there's a general slowness and inconsistency that disappoints me, and I hope it improves when everything settles down and they get their shit together.
Posted by MacCrocodile on April 24, 2013 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Fwiw, the Stranger rss feed often does not update properly in Old Reader.
Posted by j-lon on April 24, 2013 at 11:04 AM · Report this
I've been using NetVibes. They have a reader mode (the default is a widget mode, which I don't like) that changes the layout to the same as Google Reader. Updates seem just as timely. Haven't tried it on a tablet or my phone yet though... I would like some sort of phone app, but since I very rarely read my feeds on my phone, it's not a big deal.

I tried Feedly but didn't like the magazine layout. I've heard there are ways to change it, but at the time I wasn't' going to search out how to do it. NetVibes was quick and easy, so I'm going with that for now.
Posted by spacepirate42 on April 24, 2013 at 10:57 AM · Report this
brandon 14
I like Reeder, but they don't have a Windows solution for when I am at work, not to mention they are still using greader as a backend. So I am using Feedly. Apps for iPad, iPhone, and web interface like Google Reader for the desktop. I really miss Reeder's built in Readbility function for fetching the entire contents of an article without the ads or having to click through to the website. I can live without it though.

I have it configured to look just like Google Reader. You might want to play with the settings, you don't have to do the News Paper layout that it defaults to. I actually find myself getting through my feeds faster on Feedly because I can scan articles 6 or 7 at a time and mark them all as read, rather than 1 at a time.

I used to like Flipboard, especially since it integrates my Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr feeds, but there is no option for desktops at all. And it has the same problem as Reeder in that it uses Google Reader as a backend still.
Posted by brandon on April 24, 2013 at 10:40 AM · Report this
Holy crap guys, and hello, I'm the solo developer of NewsBlur. I used to live in Seattle for two summers back in 2006 and 2007, when I interned for a large software company *cough*. I lived on the Stranger (and Slog), so I'm very thankful for this endorsement.
Posted by samuelclay on April 24, 2013 at 10:30 AM · Report this
NetVibes looked the best to me, though I can't say I've gone cold turkey.
Posted by stevesliva on April 24, 2013 at 10:11 AM · Report this
NetVibes looks like the best replacement to me, but I can't go cold turkey and verify that.
Posted by stevesliva on April 24, 2013 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 10
Does feedly have offline support? That's what I want. Automatically pull updates when connected, then let me read offline on the bus.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 24, 2013 at 9:59 AM · Report this
I've been using Feedly. It's actually pretty good.
Posted by ddmama on April 24, 2013 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Drooling troglodyte 8
I'm doing OK with Netvibes, but I can't speak to how well it works on a tablet or phone. Updates seem slightly less timely than with Google Reader, but still pretty close.
Posted by Drooling troglodyte on April 24, 2013 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Josh Bis 7
I'm just hoping that Reeder and/or NetNewsReader find a new centralized sync solution.
Posted by Josh Bis on April 24, 2013 at 9:09 AM · Report this
GlennFleishman 6
@3: Google said July 1st. Possible they will push it back further.
Posted by GlennFleishman on April 24, 2013 at 8:52 AM · Report this
GlennFleishman 5
I'm an ancient NetNewsReader user (Mac software developed by a Seattle guy, Brent Simmons), and the current owners have pledged to have a solution in place before Google Reader goes into the inky deeps.
Posted by GlennFleishman on April 24, 2013 at 8:51 AM · Report this
I've been using Feedly for reading on desktop, iPad and Android phone. I switched to DoubleTwist for managing podcasts, so I've lost the Listen subscriptions functionality completely, which completely sucks.
Posted by alanstallion on April 24, 2013 at 8:50 AM · Report this
Google Reader is still live at - any idea when they're actually going to pull it?

Checking out The Old Reader; pretty different from the GR I've gotten used to.
Posted by Levislade on April 24, 2013 at 8:48 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 2
I read RSS feeds all the time on my BlackBerry, @1 (using it's native "Social Feeds" function, which also conveniently has all of Twitter's and Facebook's new posts).

Oh, I know it's hip to shit on BlackBerrys, but they do some things really well.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on April 24, 2013 at 8:11 AM · Report this
Kinison 1
For mobile phones, install Opera Mini (which is free) then click on these links.…

I'm not aware of any mobile web browser that is capable of viewing RSS feeds.
Posted by Kinison on April 24, 2013 at 8:01 AM · Report this

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