The internet is currently throwing a huge fit about Google retiring its popular RSS reading service, Google Reader, at the end of July 1. Petitions have started (this one has almost 80,000 signatures at the time of publication), even while Google has already gone so far as to pull Google Reader from the Play Store.
Believe me when I say that I’m just as angry about this as everyone else, but I think it’s slightly more productive to compile a list of the services I’ll be considering, leading up to July 1. And, of course, let me know in the comments if I missed any big ones. We’re all in this together, folks, so let’s band together and share our knowledge.
So without further ado, here are the seven best alternatives to Google Reader on the web and on Android.
- Feedly: Available on Android, iOS, and as a Chrome web app, Feedly can sync your read and unread stories across different devices, and it will also maintain a full sync with Google Reader until the latter is no longer available anymore. As an added bonus, the developers behind Feedly promise a smooth transition behind the scenes for all former Google Reader users as of July 1. Personally, I really dig the desktop web site and find it quite visually appealing and easy to navigate. The mobile app, however, is taking some getting used to. It’s really hard to beat the straightforward simplicity that is Google Reader.
- NetVibes is getting some good coverage on a few other sites, but there are some downsides: as far as I can tell, it’s not available on Android, so those of you who turn to this service will be missing out on a mobile-optimized experience. It does seem to have a few nice intelligent features, but for anything other than the most basic feed reading, you’ll have to purchase a premium plan. The website has also been incredibly slow and sluggish for me, so that’s reason enough for me to pass on this one personally – even though others are raving about it.
- NewsBlur is another service that has Android, iOS, and web apps, so you can stay in sync on any device you happen to be using at the moment. Unfortunately, it is also incredibly sluggish right now, and I’ve also learned that free accounts have been suspended due to the overwhelming demand over the past 24 hours. Still, this might be one to keep an eye on in the coming days and weeks, as the company learns to deal with its new workload and (hopefully) open up free accounts again.
- The Old Reader is known by Google Reader enthusiasts as a feed reader that kept all the best parts of the old Google Reader alive, before that redesign about a year ago. Unfortunately, I couldn’t test that one myself, as it too seemed too bogged down by all the demand.
- Pulse has a web interface, along with iOS and Android apps, although this service is probably one of the furthest away from the traditional Google Reader experience. It’s flashy, colorful, and – to me, at least – just not very efficient. Perhaps most importantly for those of you who have a huge feed library in Google Reader, I don’t see an easy, quick way to import lots of feeds all at once. But this too has a loyal following, so it bears mention here.
- Flipboard, and …
- … Google Currents are two apps available on both Android and iOS that also have loyal following, but they too are less than ideal for several reasons: again, it’s difficult to add a bunch of feeds at once (at least in Google Currents); their designs are quite jarring to those of us enamored by the simplicity of Google Reader; and there’s no way to keep things in sync on the desktop.
Again, I invite you to leave your suggestions below, too. While I doubt Google will listen to us and bring back Reader, I have no doubt that we’ll get through this together!