6 Free Google Reader Alternatives

As you may have heard, Google Reader will be closing its doors on July 1st, 2013. Those of us who use and depend on RSS feeds are scrambling for alternatives. I've selected six that are web based that have (mostly) apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

The first thing you'll want to do is to download all your feeds. You can do this within Google Reader, but Google Takeout makes it much easier and you can get all your Google data at the same time.
Here's a step by step guide to downloading your Google data:
How to Download Your Data with Google Takeout

At the time of this writing bunches of people have signed up for RSS readers. Some of the sites are having a hard time keeping up with the traffic. They may not be reachable due to server overload and all features may change or not be available. I think a few more days should see things settling down quite a bit. If you find one that's down temporarily, give it some time and then check back.

Net Vibes
The granddaddy of them all, Netvibes is a combination start page and RSS reader. It’s highly customizable with a wealth of features from changing the colors and themes to a large selection of items in several categories you can add to your page. You can add pages (shown on the top of the page as tabs) for various interests. News, gardening, politics, travel, technology and more things you may want to add.
If you have a lot of feeds be aware that the amount of feeds should not exceed 150/200 feeds/widgets per private dashboard for optimum use. Directions for importing feeds can be found in the site blog. There are versions for smartphones available on iPad, iPhone and Android. It has a reader view, an offline mode.
Register for free account to use.

NewsBlur
Free account allows up to 12 sites
Supports Web, iPhone, iPad, and Android
This site has seen the most changes over the last 24 hours, from no free accounts, to limited free accounts, changing the amount of feeds with a free account, and increased the price for premium accounts. This site has seen more down time than others. Since this is a single person operation there will be a few ups and downs.
If you are having trouble accessing the main site, give this one a try.
http://dev.newsblur.com/
Free to try, free registration, free and premium accounts

Feedly
Web based, supports iPhone, iPad, and Android with addons for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Kindle.
Login to feedly using your Google account. Feedly will automatically sync your Google Reader account.
Feedly is building a clone of the Google API called Normandy. It will be in place before Google Reader and all accounts will smoothly transition at that time.

Pulse
"Pulse is a fast and beautiful way to read your favorite blogs, magazines, social networks and newspapers."
Magazine style interface.
Free registration using Facebook or Email
Direct import of RSS feeds from Google Reader
"Bringing the Fun in Reading Back. A beautifully crafted experience that puts content at its heart. Read, save & share your favorite stories."

Bloglines
(Yes, Bloglines. It's been resurrected from the old version)
Google Reader import feature
Free registration uses email address
Web and mobile versions
"Welcome to the all new Bloglines, the best resource for local blogs, news, and events."

The Old Reader
“Just like the old google reader, only better. Import your subscriptions in one click, find your Facebook friends and start sharing.”
Import your feeds directly from your Google Reader account or use our OPML import feature.
Registration requires Facebook or Google account.
No mobile as yet, but sports a mobile friendly interface.

Until next time,
Rhiannon

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Comments

by Ken3 on 17. April 2013 - 13:42  (107153)

Include supported browser versions. At my workplace IE 8 can only be used. Some of these alternate readers do not support IE 8, only 9 or 10 (2 recent versions). Registered on some of these but none display correctly, so I had to cancel the account. Had used Bloglines in the past and it had a feature for user to retain certain feeds (like the Starred Items in Google Reader) but that feature no longer exists. Also, Bloglines uses Netvibes like a "back-end" - the two are very similar.

by rhiannon on 17. April 2013 - 19:07  (107158)

I understand your frustration. I run in to that issue in other places. :)
With browser versions changing so rapidly it's not practical for me to list them.
My suggestion is to check compatibility before signing up.

by zdub on 19. March 2013 - 22:14  (106401)

I'm now a Feedly convert. Seamless migration from Reader, plus very flexible viewing options that can be set for individual feeds and folders. It has occasionally been unavailable (only displaying a blank page!) because of all of the additional users that they now have.

Folks should note that The Old Reader only receives feed updates about once/day, which is why I gave it a pass when checking out alternatives.

by deuce2two on 19. March 2013 - 1:35  (106367)

quiterss. portable. import feeds. sorting.

by HellcatM on 18. March 2013 - 23:32  (106365)

I just imported my feeds to Thunderbird and so far it works well. I've also tried RSS Bandit which is ok if you want a separate program. Feedly is ok and I use it on my laptop. I'll see what the Digg reader will be like when it comes out.

by phillj on 18. March 2013 - 8:12  (106342)

Another one worth checking out is http://www.feedshow.com

by rhiannon on 18. March 2013 - 22:02  (106360)

philj;

I checked out feedshow before I wrote the article. I didn't include them because
a)I don't see any mention of what they support other than a web reader - I assume no mobile support since it isn't mentioned.
b)Their blog, their About page, and their Forums/Support page are non-existent.
c)I'm not crazy about the idea that your feeds can make you and feedshow money.

by tarstarkas27 on 18. March 2013 - 3:47  (106333)

Bamboo Reader add-on for firefox works beautifully as a replacement for google reader

by oversky on 18. March 2013 - 2:33  (106331)

Which services can export OPML?

by rhiannon on 18. March 2013 - 4:33  (106335)

oversky,

I don't know, you'd need to check each service.
FWIW, I've had no trouble renaming an XML file extension to OPML.
I would make a copy of the file before trying to change anything, just in case.

by subscriptionsformpb on 18. March 2013 - 0:23  (106329)

I use Feeddemon to actually add and read feeds. However, the best thing about GoogleReader was the ability to share and/or comment on feeds (in FeedDemon) and share to subscribers via GoogleReader share. GoogleReader deleter the share feature for new users some time ago, but the oldsters still got to share.

So, what will replace sharing feeds with others? (via an RSS)?

Del.icio.us dumped my previous library and accounts when they became delicious.com. Connotea is no more.

by rhiannon on 18. March 2013 - 4:15  (106334)

subscriptionsformpb,

A good many of RSS readers support sharing.
Feedly supports sharing using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Evernote, Pinterest, LinkedIn and gmail. Directly or via Buffer, Pocket or Instapaper. The mini-feedly that lets you add comments.

I haven't tried all the services to see what type of sharing they support, especially the mobile ones since I don't have a smartphone.

Anyone else have suggestions?

by subscriptionsformpb on 18. March 2013 - 4:52  (106337)

Sharing to those specific sites means someone has to have an account to see the article shared. Will any provide an open feed to the shared content, like GReader used to? I would post the shared feed to my websites and folks could subscribe from there or in their own reader to my shared reads.

Feeddemon allows sharing by email which means a Wordpress or Tumblr could provide the library location (post by email) and those have feeds of tagged posts.

Sounds like a hassle...

by rhiannon on 18. March 2013 - 22:04  (106361)

subscriptionsformpb;

It does sound like work.........
You might want to keep an eye out on the RSS reader that Digg is putting together:
http://www.digg.com/reader

by James Cuthbert on 17. March 2013 - 14:39  (106314)

consider Bamboo Feed reader if you use Firefox
it is a Firefox add on and seamlessly imported my Google reader feeds

by rhiannon on 17. March 2013 - 18:26  (106320)

James Cuthbert,

I'll give that a look. I've been meaning to add a handful of feeds to Firefox, ones that I like to keep updated on.
Thanks for the suggestion. :)

by sjaves on 17. March 2013 - 11:37  (106309)

FeedDemon. Why mess around with more cloud based programs? FeedDemon just works great.

by rhiannon on 17. March 2013 - 18:23  (106319)

sjaves,

I've used Feed Demon for years. Sadly, it's dependent on the Google Reader API and is shutting down.
Nick Bradbury: The End of FeedDemon

by rhiannon on 17. March 2013 - 18:33  (106322)

Actually, I should clarify that - Feed Demon will work as a desktop RSS reader. It won't sync with Google Reader after July 1st and Nick Bradbury has said there won't be any further development for it.

by Michael 2007 on 17. March 2013 - 11:58  (106310)

Fair enough at home, but I use lots of different computers at all of my different work locations, sjaves; none of which are mine. Using all of their different Operating Systems in different languages is tricky enough as it is.

Oh, and according to this article I just found from 3 days ago, FeedDemon is also shutting down on July 1st.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9237591/FeedDemon_to_shut_down_ot...

FeedDemon shutdown confirmed here by its creator, Nick Bradbury, 4 days ago.

http://nick.typepad.com/blog/2013/03/the-end-of-feeddemon.html

by mrnukem on 17. March 2013 - 3:44  (106301)

Feedley is what I ended up going with. it easily imported my Google Reader Subscriptions, no problems connecting to their servers and they give you various options for sharing links from your feed straight to facebook, twitter and google +.
The deciding factor to go with feedly though was the different layouts. I just do not like the Magazine style layouts for my reader and with the different layout options on feedly I was able to get it looking a lot like my google reader layout with expandable listings in the side window and main window, also the single Index feature it really nice as well. So far I am pleased with feedly, almost feels like Google Reader with a skin and extra options

by Michael 2007 on 17. March 2013 - 10:58  (106307)

I've also gone with Feedly, mrnukem.

The Old Reader might be an option if they develop a mobile app, but I'm still in a queue of thousands waiting to import my feeds, so I don't even know when I'll be able to try it out properly, (although the queue is now down from 18,000 yesterday to 4,000), and it does seem a bit light on for options.

Netvibes doesn't even have "search" (within feeds), which pretty much rules it out, and it also lacks customization tools.

That's what has sold me on Feedly. I've found I actually prefer the Index page you mentioned to having to scroll through my Google Reader list of about 200 feeds. And being able to customize each individual feed is great. I really like being able to set News sites as Titles, General sites as Magazine, Mosaic or Cards, and Photography sites as Full Articles. I'd say within a day or two I'll have every individual feed customized exactly as I prefer it. The Mobile app seems fine too.

So, while I was as shocked as many to learn of Google Reader's imminent demise, for now at least, it seems like I've found something even better.

by rhiannon on 17. March 2013 - 18:21  (106318)

Michael 2007,

What kind of customizations in Netvibes are you looking for? It's extremely customizable, down to see your content similar to Google Reader. The customization tools aren't readily apparent, I've had to look up something that I wanted to do more than once over the years. That said, I consider Netvibes more of a start page than an RSS reader, especially if you have a lot of feeds.

I too like the various layouts in Feedly, and you can customize the colors to some extent to make reading text easier.

by Michael 2007 on 18. March 2013 - 0:11  (106327)

Thanks very much for that, Rhiannon. I'll have another look at Netvibes' customization tools when I have time, but not having a "search" function is the real dealbreaker. But then maybe it does, and I just haven't been able to find it yet.

by rhiannon on 18. March 2013 - 4:44  (106336)

Michael 2007,

While I like Netvibes, I can honestly say that using it has never come intuitively to me.
From what I could find it appears that a search option is available to Netvibes Premium subscribers.
Netvibes Premium is $499./month USD.
New Real-Time Search Streams: When everything that matters flows to you…

I did find this handy guide: Easily migrate from Google Reader to Netvibes.
Here's a link to the Netvibes : Help page.

by DavidFB on 17. March 2013 - 1:14  (106292)

I don't make heavy use of RSS feeds but have found Firefox Live Bookmarks fine. I sort same into their own folder and they can be viewed in the sidebar when I want to do a larger review.

Saves having yet another tool open all the time.

by DavidFB on 17. March 2013 - 1:18  (106294)

Oh sorry - you need the Feeds Sidebar extension to view them in the sidebar ;-)

by rhiannon on 17. March 2013 - 2:42  (106297)

DavidFB;

Back in the day when I had fewer feeds I liked the Sage RSS addon for Firefox.

by pvilan on 17. March 2013 - 1:11  (106291)

Rhiannon,

You mean that by using Feedly (Chrome extension) I do not need to download anything from Google Reader before it closes?

Thanks and regards.

Peter

by rhiannon on 17. March 2013 - 2:09  (106295)

Hi Peter,

Correct. After the Feedly extension is installed Feedly will show a pop up window asking for permission to access your Google Reader account. Allow access and it syncs your Google Reader account with Feedly.
Feedly is working on a clone of the Google Reader API and say it will be done before Google Reader closes and all your feeds will transition seamlessly. Just in case I keep a backup of my Google Reader feeds. You can do this through Google Takeout mentioned above, or through Google Reader itself. Going through Google Reader uses Takeout as well, so either method works.

For both Firefox and Chrome I logged in to my Google Reader account - a good idea if you have more than one account.
All my feeds and folders imported easily, nothing missing as far as I can tell.
Out of the two I like the Chrome implementation better than Firefox.

They've set up a Tips for Google Reader users migrating to feedly that's helpful.

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