Google Reader Is Dead, but There's Still Time to Switch RSS Readers

Google is making user data available until July 15 before deleting all Google Reader files.


Google Reader died a tragic death at the end of the night on July 1 as Google pulled the plug on the eight-year-old service, citing a lack of users, but if you hurry, you can still move your account files and preferences to another RSS reader.

In a July 1 post, the Google Reader development team told users that, while the service has been shuttered, they still have until 3 p.m. EDT on July 15 to copy and move their Reader data to another site.

"Google Reader has been discontinued," the post states, noting that "we understand you may not agree with this decision."

For months, Google has been telling users of the RSS reader that they could save their account data by downloading a copy of it from Google Takeout, which provides files that can be transferred by users. That data won't be available, however, after the July 15 deadline.

"All Google Reader subscription data (eg. lists of people that you follow, items you have starred, notes you have created, etc.) will be systematically deleted from Google servers" on that date, the post states. That "subscription data will be permanently, and irrevocably deleted," and will not be recoverable by Google after the deadline.

Google Reader, which was a simple, sturdy, reliable and basic RSS reader loved by millions of users around the world, was killed off by Google as part of a winnowing process for lesser-used Google services.

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, its use has declined, the company said, which is why it was cut.

For users who do save and move their Reader files, there are myriad options for alternative RSS readers out there.

RSS readers serve a valuable purpose by bringing together many morsels of information so they can quickly be sorted, selected and read.

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. After a personal review of many alternative readers, 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.

Others RSS readers include the following:

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.

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.

Users who are still seeking a new RSS reader have lots of decisions to make as they sort through the options.

Even Google left users with a long list of alternatives for Reader.

Whatever option you choose, be sure to back up your Reader data now through Google Takeout so you can move forward to another RSS reader when you are ready to take the leap.