Alternatives to Google Reader

From 1st July 2013, Google Reader will no longer be available.  If you have been using Google Reader to save your RSS feeds (to keep current with research), you can export the feeds to other readers.  This post suggests a few that I have tried and which I think are almost as good as Google’s Reader.  However, the suggestions come with a warning – we didn’t expect the plug to be pulled on Reader as it is popular and has a large following; this could also happen to the readers I am suggesting below so I would recommend that you save your feeds on a regular basis (by exporting them – see below for instructions) and using two readers just in case one dies a sudden death like Reader.

Computer/Laptop Readers

If you read your feeds on a computer or a laptop, the following two readers are extremely user-friendly:  The Old Reader and CommaFeed  Both are working quickly to develop Apps for mobile devices which they promise will be ready by the end of June 2013.  Instructions on how to export your RSS feeds from Google Reader to The Old Reader and to CommaFeed are attached.

Mobile RSS Apps

If you read your feeds on mobile devices such your smart phone or tablet, I can recommend a couple of apps:   Zite  and Feedly.  Both of these are available from the App Store and both have received good reviews hence my recommendation.  Feedly is also available as a reader on a browser (Firefox, Safari and Chrome).

Open source software relies on the goodwill of people in terms of time they give to developing an application and donations by individuals.  This software can very easily be available one day and not the next as open source companies may go out of business.  My advice to you is to back up your feeds on a regular basis and use more than one reader – especially if you are not able to access your feeds because the server is over capacity (this has just happened to me with Feedly which is very popular).  If you suddenly find a reader is unavailable, you certainly won’t want to have to start from scratch  if you keep updates.  We haven’t had to do this with Google as we have been given time to prpare for Google Reader’s demise.  Do also be aware that if you use RSS on a browser and your hardware develops a fault, you could also lose your feeds with your computer/laptop.  So be safe and use at least a couple of readers.  Google has taught us a valuable lesson  – not to rely on its products or on technology as this post in Forbes explains so clearly.

As the time of Google Reader’s demise draws nearer, many more software companies are announcing replacements so watch this space for more recommendations as I try new feed readers to keep current with research.

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