Google announced last month that they will do away with Google Reader as of July 1, 2013 in favour users moving to Google+. I don’t really understand this plan; usually when someone says Google+ my eyes glaze over, because what is the deal with that thing? Anyway. Google Reader users immediately began freaking out over having to start over somewhere else, and also what to start over with. But don’t worry, there are lots of other RSS feeds and news aggregators out there, and a lot of them are better than Google Reader (personally, I never understood the love). Even better, most of them even allow you to import your saved pages over from Reader at the click of a button.
Platforms: Web, Android, ios.
Feedly is where all the cool kids have migrated to — apparently 3 million Google Reader users are already there. This is largely helped by the fact that it allows you to transfer your GR files over quickly and easily, but also because of its extremely attractive, magazine-inspired interface. It also allows you to organize your sites into different categories, and it’s not just for following websites either — you can also follow your favourite podcasts and YouTube channels.
Platforms: ios, Android, Blackberry and Web
Taptu isn’t really an rss reader so much as a news aggregator, which means that you don’t get to choose what sites go on it. Instead, you pick what topics you’re interested in, and it gives you the top stories for the day from around the web. It’s ridiculously simple to set up — if you’re not using it on your phone, but on a computer browser, you don’t even need to sign in. You just click the topics you want to read about, which takes two seconds, and it has the top stories pretty much instantaneously. It does allow you to follow specific sites, but it’s much better to use if you want to follow specific topics rather than sites. This one is the for the serious information junkie.
Platforms: Web, Android and ios
Netvibes provides a dashboard for all of your apps, pictures, and tweets, as well as functioning as a news reader. If you turn off Netvibes’ “widget” feature, it’s actually very similar to the Google Reader experience. Importing your Google Reader files is also as simple as clicking “Add Content” and “Import.” If you hate change and want something as close to Reader as possible, this could be just what you’re looking for.
Platforms: Web, ios, and Android
NewsBlur is the newest rss reader on the block, but it’s ready to give the old boys a run for their money. Visually, it’s pretty similar to the rss feeds we’re already used to, but with a major difference: instead of just reading the headlines, it combines them with the actual website. So, if you click on a site’s feed on the left, it gives you all the most recent headlines at the bottom, with the actual site on top so you can surf through the Newsblur site if that’s what you prefer. This is a major step up from regular rss feeds because it allows you to see all the images and doesn’t limit you to having to go to each individual page. There’s also a greater deal of customization and organization than with other rss readers I’ve used. And again, importing from Google Reader is possible on this one as well, so switching should be a breeze. However, a free account only lets you follow up to 64 sites, so if you don’t want to pay for more than that, this might not be the best option for you.
The Old Reader is the rss reader for the person who likes to share, much like Google Reader used to be in its early years. Like a traditional rss reader, it allows you to follow your favourite blogs and news sites. However, it also allows your friends to follow you, and see what you’re reading and comment or add personal notes. It’s still in beta, so it might be a little buggy for the next several months, so I wouldn’t recommend it for people who have no patience for bugs and crashing.It also currently does not have a mobile app, though that is currently in the works.
Platforms: Web, ios, Android
Pulse is a news, social media, and webpage aggregator with one of the slickest, easiest to use designs out there. Users select their preferred news sources, and Pulse arranges them in neat, easy to navigate rows (they call it a “mosaic interface). It even has a “read it later” feature, and exclusive paid content from the Wall Street Journal. Saved stories can even be exported to other apps like Pocket and Evernote.
What NOT to switch to
There are a couple of apps you should avoid. The first is FeedDemon, because it is also done when Google Reader is in July. I have also been seeing people recommend the iGoogle Google Reader, which is a trap. It sucks, and it’s only any good if you follow, like, maybe 5 blogs tops. Any more, and you are waiting five million years for anything to load. Skip it, there are much better options out there.