Four alternatives to Google Reader

Dave Stevenson
14 Mar 2013

Google’s plans to shutter Google Reader will bite on 1 July, and anyone who hasn’t migrated their carefully-assembled collection of RSS feeds by then will have to start all over again.

The activist-minded can add their voices to a 30,000-strong petition, begging Google to keep Reader going, but the more pragmatic should accept defeat and start looking at ways to port their RSS feeds to different services.

Here are four go-to alternatives to Google Reader to consider:

1. Feedly

Feedly moved quickly in the wake of Google’s announcement; unfortunately the thing it did fastest was collapse under the sudden influx of users looking for somewhere new to keep their RSS feeds. Still, it’s recovered now, and offers perhaps the most straightforward transition from Google Reader of any service. Add its browser app to Chrome, Firefox or Safari (Internet Explorer users are left strangely in the lurch), allow it to access your Google account and it pulls in all of your feeds, including their read status as well as any folders you’ve sorted them into. Feedly’s interface is slick and minimalist, and its Titles view most closely approximates the Google Reader interface you know and love.

2. NewsBlur

Another popular choice currently weighed down by an influx of distraught Google Reader users -  you’ll want to leave NewsBlur for a few days before trying as its present performance is pretty woeful. Still, when it starts working properly you’ll find a nicely-featured RSS reader with plenty of customisation options and, for those joining the Google exodus, the ability to suck in your existing RSS feeds and folders en masse with nothing more than your Google login details.

3. Flipboard

Flipboard is no substitute for the pared-back, data-heavy mass of headlines and standfirsts we love Google Reader for, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It will still gather up your Google Reader feeds, but presents them as a glossy, animated faux-magazine, better designed for leisurely flipping than speed-reading. Free, but only available on iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and the Nook.

4. Netvibes

More than a little daunting to the newcomer, Netvibes bills itself as a kind of dashboard for the entire web, but there’s a capable RSS reader under there. The two-pane RSS reader - with folders on the left and content on the right - will be comforting to Google’s outcasts. Although it doesn’t offer as straightforward an import process as other services, once you’ve exported your Google Reader feeds with Google Takeout, importing them is the work of but a few clicks.

What have we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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