If you’re reading this after 7/1/2013 – then the title is true – Google Reader is dead, and its passing has caused a lot of sadness – especially for me. If you’ve never heard of Google Reader, in its simplest form, it takes content from websites (mainly blogs) and aggregates them all into one place for you to see. So instead of constantly checking your favorite blogs 5 times a day to read their new stories – you can just check your Google Reader for the most up to date posts!
I read and (try to) comment on a lot of blogs – from personal finance to gadgets to cars – and depending on my mood, I can look through my Google Reader at my RSS feeds and find something to entertain me. Unfortunately for me, and a lot of you out there, Google went through a “Spring Cleaning” and decided that it no longer made sense to support Google Reader and gave everyone 3.5 months to find an alternative. As Google’s service was so robust – the alternatives have been pretty crappy. I use “MobileRSS” on my iPad, but it just pulls in Google’s data – and frequently gives me errors so it’s not really that awesome. When I’m on my PC/Mac – I just use Google’s native client. So with Google Reader shutting down soon and no viable replacements – what the hell are you supposed to do now?
Save Your Data
Before you do ANYTHING ELSE, you need to go to Google and get a copy of your data. They have a website – Google Takeout – that will let you export your Google Reader data. This way, if you miss the deadline, or move to another service that doesn’t work out – at least you will have a list of all your feeds in a safe place (your desktop, Dropbox, iCloud, etc).
Well, with the shutdown announcement, several websites decided this would be their moment to shine. Chief among them have been Feedly, Digg, and AOL – who have all come out (or announced) a Google Reader substitute. So which one should you use? Which one should you throw your support behind? Well, at least 8 million people have jumped on the Feedly bandwagon – according to this news report. I decided to check each of these alternatives out to determine which was the best one right now. I understand that over time each will develop – but I need something in a couple of days, so I need the best RIGHT NOW!
I signed up to use AOL’s newly announced Reader – and was met with a wait list…bummer. I guess AOL Reader is off my list to replace Google Reader – at least in the short term!
I tried to sign up to use Digg’s new service, but all they have is a countdown clock that runs out when Google Reader shuts down…. another one off my list!
The names for these services are horribly uncreative… I know they’re all trying to just slot in and make us all forget about Google Reader – but come on – couldn’t someone use anything other than “Name + Reader”????? Ok, back to the subject at hand. When I tried to sign up for Feedly Reader…it actually worked!! I know that Feedly has been integrating Google Reader data for a long time, but considering they are the only MAJOR site that will even let me look at their product? I think they’ve got a winner on their hands (and just look how nicely this site displays on their web interface!). Combine that with their sleek interface, suite of apps, and first to market presence – and I think they could definitely become the 800 pound gorilla in the market once Google pulls the plug.
I know that a lot of people reading this blog and other personal finance / financial independence sites around the web use Google Reader on a daily basis. I love it, and am definitely sad to see it go. I hope that more competitors pop up in the near future, and that we get some great products as a result. For now though, I’m going to transition over to Feedly until something better comes along… or until I’m allowed into one of the other sites!
Have you found an alternative to Google Reader? Let us know in the comments below. Do you agree with my assessment that Feedly is the only real option right now? Thanks for stopping by!
AB Around the Web
I have been lucky enough to have been featured on several blogs in the last few days (thanks everyone). Check out these great blogs below!