The day that Google announced they are getting rid of Google Reader was a sad one in the blog world. Almost as sad as when they announced they were getting rid of my beloved Picnik…
There have been a lot of alternatives suggested, so I began a search for a replacement. My must have for a reader is an RSS feature where I can see the whole post. I know that most readers don’t have it because it reduces blog traffic and you aren’t directed to a page; but it’s the only way I can access blogs at work where most web pages are blocked. So it’s a must have for me.
Here are alternatives that I’ve looked into, and their pros and cons.
Feedly. This one is the most common suggestion because they offer an easy way to import all of your Google Reader content. The iPhone app is well organized and is my #1 choice for reading blogs on my phone. But until last week (!!) a major downfall of the reader was that you have to download software so it wasn’t possible on a work computer, but that has now been changed to a web based reader! That is huge.
At first I didn’t like the layout and disregarded it as an option, but now I am seeing (and hearing) that Feedly is dedicated to taking in the old Google Reader population and is constantly implementing feedback. I’ve heard it’s now more customizable so I’ve been messing around with it a lot and setting it up to my liking. It definitely takes some getting used to.
So this definitely has potential to not just be a Google Reader replacement, but to be better than GR, it’s just not 100% there yet.
Blog Lovin’. Blog Lovin’ used to be only for fashion related/girly blogs, but Google Reader’s demise has caused them to broaden the spectrum of blogs you can follow within it. It has a clean layout and clearly allows you to see what you’ve read and haven’t read, and to group blogs into categories. However, you can only read a post by going to the blog, so that doesn’t work for me, unless I’m at home or on my phone.
Pulse. Pulse was an app at first, but they recently launched a web based reader. The app is great, but the webpage is still missing a lot. For starters there’s a limited amount of blogs you can have in a category, which drove me nuts because I had to have a couple folders for each of my categories. It was also missing a lot of blogs that I read, they wouldn’t come up in the search. Major no-no. I would say the best use for this is as a news aggregator. Their preset categories show only the major headlines. But it’s not good if you enjoy reading smaller blogs.
News Blur. I heard GREAT things about this one and then I was so disappointed because i couldn’t open up an account. The message said the demand was so high for their free accounts, that the only one accounts available are for the paid version… $24/year. No way.
The Old Reader. Finally I tried the Old Reader. It looks exactly like a Google Reader. It’s web based and easy to access. You have to export your Google Reader to get a file to import into this reader, but it’s not hard since Google is making sure this transition is easy and has export options now (go to settings). The one downside was this is the response I got:
50,000 people in line ahead of me! Pretty crazy. This was on March 20th, and it wasn’t until April 2nd that I was finally moved! High demand right now. And this is a great option for people not looking for change. It looks just like Google Reader and allows me to organize in a similar way.
The Final Verdict? I’m happy I found a Google Reader clone but for some reason I’m still not satisfied, I was hoping for some better options, and not just a clone. So Feedly is my front runner right now with high hopes that they will continue to make some big user changes to be more customizable and better than Google Reader by July!
What reader are you switching to?