Google Reader recently closed its doors forever, citing a drop in usage as the reason for its untimely end.
But where does this leave the dedicated Google Reader fan base?
Fortunately there is no shortage of RSS reader alternatives, and in the wake of Google Reader’s demise several major brands are stepping up to fill the void.
Following the end of the Google Reader era, Feedly is well positioned to be rapidly become the internet’s favorite RSS feeder. It offers a clean and attractive interface that’s nearly fully customizable, allowing you to easily switch between feed interfaces that look like newsprint or image-oriented feeds. Feedly has been adding additional features almost on a weekly basis since Google Reader stepped out of the market, including a syncing service, keyboard shortcuts, and much more. Syncing with most apps, Feedly may become the new industry standard for RSS feeders in the next year or so.
The Digg Reader is a soon-to-be available web and Android based reader that’s been inspired by the simplicity of the Google Reader interface. By combining new features like instapaper sharing and a filter for trending articles, the Digg Reader has every RSS fan talking in excitement for its imminent release. And if you’re a Digg.com user already, you’ll appreciate that the Digg reader will have full integration with your existing Digg account.
The OLD Reader
The OLD reader is a web based RSS feed that was released following the discontinuation of Google Reader’s social features. Compared to other readers on this list, it is a very simple application oriented primarily around social sharing features. The OLD Reader’s interface is very close to the old Google Reader interface, especially prior to the release of Google +. While the OLD Reader does not offer a mobile app, they do have a public API which allows anyone to write an app for the old reader as well as an abundance of unofficial mobile apps already in existence.
NewBlur is an Android, iOS, and web based RSS reader that allows you to see content on its original site. NewsBlur also allows you to separate RSS feeds into different categories through the use of tags and even create a NewsBlur blog from your RSS feed, allowing you to share your favorite content with your friends. The NewsBlur service is free for 64 sites, which is ideal for light-RSS users, and premium services are available for 2$ a month with unlimited website support.
Tiny Tiny RSS
Tiny Tiny RSS is for the do-it-yourself crowd. Rather than signing up for an RSS service and syncing your feeds, Tiny Tiny RSS runs on your own hosting which allows you to operate your RSS feed on your own terms. And in truth, this is the only way you can guarantee that your RSS reader server won’t get closed and removed from under you like the Google service did for many users. While it takes a bit of time and energy to set up Tiny Tiny RSS, including the prerequisite for a web host that supports both PHP and MySQL, once it gets going you couldn’t expect more from an RSS reader.
One of the oldest names in the internet game, the AOL Reader is a relatively simple RSS reader that offers a few
stylistic viewing panes. Users can share stories to their favorite social networks including Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn, all with a single click. While you can’t save articles to offline services, the AOL Reader does offer Android and iOS support as well as reasonable functionality on mobile browsers. While AOL’s Reader is at a very young stage in its development, AOL does plan on adding support for new content notifications and search in the near future.
Pulse is an RSS option ideal for visual readers. Rather than simply imitating the Google Reader’s interface or trying to follow in the footsteps of traditional RSS applications, Pulse turns newsfeeds into visual images and carefully tracks your RSS use to help predict which articles you want to see first and then pushes them to the top of your feed. This visual oriented approach is ideal for mobile devices including smartphones and tablets, and Pulse consequently offers full support for OS and Android devices.
While NetVibes isn’t strictly speaking an RSS reader but rather a more robust social aggregation service, its RSS functionality competes with the best of them. NetVibes is a desktop oriented service that includes support for features, like widgets, but as a result does not include support for mobile apps. To its credit however, NetVibes excels at offering data analysis that helps to compare popularity trends and provide the best possible feed.
Feedbin is one of the older alternatives on this list, already long established and including support for a wide variety of applications. The Feedbin service costs $2 per month or $20 per year and delivers the simple and fast RSS experience that you would expect of a paid service. With full support for import and export RSS subscription lists, Feedbin is a perfect alternative for anyone looking to make a quick and painless switch from Google Reader.
Flipboard is a mobile app for iOS and Android with an emphasis on visual content in a way that is very similar to Pulse. However, rather than presenting stories in an icon oriented format, Flipboard opts to offer a magazine-style layout as well as the ability to “flip” pages from social networks for sharing with a one click. Flipboard enables users to cut and save web content into their format which is more suitable for mobile devices, but it’s important to note that Flipboard does not include support for desktops.