Google Reader, the simple, sturdy, reliable and basic RSS reader loved by millions of users around the world, will be killed off by Google July 1 as part of a winnowing process for lesser-used Google services.
Google had announced the closure of Reader back in March, which set off some online protests, the creation of several petitions by angered users and the beginnings of a scramble to find some alternatives for the future once Reader got the axe.
Well, with the demise less than 10 days away, it's time for an eWEEK guide to several Google Reader alternatives. This isn't an exhaustive list because there are many alternatives out there, from well-known names and smaller, lesser-known apps.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) isn't what it once was, especially in today's heady days of super-fast social media and always-available WiFi, but for many users, it still serves a valuable purpose by bringing together many morsels of information so they can quickly be sorted, selected and read.
For this writer, Google Reader has been an everyday tool since it was unveiled in 2005 as a free Google service that made information sorting easy for working journalists and many others. When its demise was announced, so began a search for a capable replacement. Here's what we found:
Feedbin has a large, clear text-based layout and costs $2 per month.
Feedly, available as a Firefox plug-in or as an app for iOS or Android, allows users to get their RSS feeds, podcasts, YouTube channels and news sites so they can organize them as desired. It's got a wide range of features, from tagging to sharing and multiple layout options.
Feedspot provides a clean, uncluttered appearance, almost looking like an email client. The free service includes sharing, a customized home page newsfeed and more.
Feed Wrangler is available for $19 a year, with a simple content-based interface.
InoReader is very similar to the old Google Reader, with a basic, no-nonsense layout of subscriptions on the left and content on the right.
The Old Reader has a similar look and feel of Reader, with a more muted, more basic approach. The subscriptions are listed on the left, just like Reader, with the content on the right side. For Reader lovers, this could be a perfect free substitute.
MultiPLX is a more modern reader, with headlines, summaries and images that appear on cards on the screen. The free reader is presently in public beta.
Netvibes offers a free basic service with a dashboard and news reader in one. Fee-based accounts are also available with more features and support.
NewsBlur is free on the Web, iPad, iPhone and Android, or is available by paid subscription with expanded features for $24 per year. The free account is limited to 64 subscriptions and displays for 10 stories at a time.
Pulse is available as an Android or iOS app and presents feeds with graphics and pizzazz.
With all of these alternatives, and others we didn't cover, users have lots of decisions to make and not a lot of time left to get their new readers installed, loaded with their current subscriptions and into operation.
After a personal review of the readers mentioned here, this writer selected InoReader as my Google Reader replacement. It's free, fast, easy and intuitive to operate and its clean, clutter-free interface is inviting and easy to navigate quickly. It also is easy to add subscriptions, rename them or make other needed changes.
Using InoReader for the last month, this writer is still sad to see his friend Google Reader depart, but is satisfied that no loss of productivity was suffered as part of the changeover.
Google announced Reader's demise in a March 13 post as part of a house-cleaning project it began in 2011. While Reader has had a loyal following, over the years usage has declined, the company said, which is why it was cut. Users were given the opportunity to export their Reader data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout.