Last week I sent a message out in the main RSS feed asking people what they’re using or going to use in place of Google Reader, which is closing down July 1st. This is an update on my quest.
I’ve spent the week trying out feed-readers, for those of you still looking I’d like to tell you just a tiny bit about each one (if you’re into this sort of thing)
Feedly: as I stated originally is far and away the most popular choice I’ve heard, and I wish I could talk about it in a more analytical way. It’s very attractive, and once I found some setting adjustments it improved, but things still feel off. It’s a dream where I’m in my house, but it’s not my house, and the cat has my Grandma’s face. I woke up kinda mad at Feedly, but I can’t remember why.
Pulse: looks the most like an app for a phone or tablet, which is probably a complement. It’s very modern and image heavy, all tiles and that. I find the read vs. unread states to be a bit too subtle and as far as I can tell the layout can’t really be switched to the kind of view I like. So, points for sexiness, but not for my flow.
Netvibes: is sort of like a prettier version of those old 1998 style hubs, trying to aggregate all the things like a Newspaper. Which is a valid idea …but not something I like.
I can’t believe this image already existed.
Newsvibe: is super minimalistic. Nice and clean, but it doesn’t have many options for reading style.
NewsBlur: gets a lot of credit in my book for letting me “Demo” it before signing up (which took a day standing in an imaginary line). It’s surprisingly customizable. For example, there’s (as far as I’ve noticed) a unique “display original” option, and it actually has feed statistics. Though the stats don’t mean a whole lot being so much less common than GR was. Still really impressive, probably my second choice. On the negative side, you can only have 64 feeds at once for the free version, but personally I doubt I’ll hit the ceiling without being able to swap out any time soon.
AOL Reader: Is surprisingly pleasant, and since it’s in beta there’s the likelihood of loads of improvement, My main beef with it so far is the big cheesy ads on the side.FlowReader
FlowReader: Seems neat, and has some sort of Twitter integration that might be very useful for someone, but the nesting of folders and lack of unread count display left everything really off and confusing.
Flo Rida: Inversely turned out to be a rapper who doesn’t have anything to do with RSS. Though he was really nice about the mix-up. We’re gonna get matching “.opml 4 Life” tattoos next week.
The Old Reader: was apparently made years ago to replace some features GR had removed. Thus this has all the feel of Google, with if anything a slightly sleeker look due to some minor color, font and tag styles. It’s just as hard to pin down what feels so right about The Old Reader, as it is to tell what’s off about some, but this one a pretty safe bet. If you’re going to try one of these as a replacement, this is just a truly elegant choice.
Side notes: This is just how I read, and what works for me. These are all browser based, I don’t know off-hand what does and does not have phone or tablet apps, or what desktop options are out there. Also, I may be wrong, but to varying degrees it seems as if all these options are somewhat slower fetching new content than Google was, but I’m cutting all of them some slack in case the rush of new users has some effect.
Thank you very much to the people that offered help in finding a new Feed Reader. Particularly thanks to Mark who informed me of my personal favorite The Old Reader. I hope this may have helped some of you pick a new reader to try, and make the end of Google Reader a little less scary.