Yesterday Google announced the upcoming death of Google Reader. A shock went through the Tech World: how are we now going to keep up with all that is written in our industry? It even got as far as petitions being set up.
But before you jump to the petition board: there are enough alternatives. There is Social Media off course, but if you want to stick to RSS there are several options as well. Below I’ve highlighted three types of alternatives: the (mainly) desktop alternative, the all platform alternative and the pure tablet alternative. Each with their own advantages.
The Desktop alternative: Bloglines / Netvibes
Bloglines is what you could call a direct alternative for Google Reader or even better iGoogle. When it comes to look and feel it probably is the closest you can get to Google Reader. It allows you to work with widgets, which gives it a nice hip feeling to it. But you can also choose to watch by feed or view all feeds.
It is very simple to add a feed and it also allows you to import your feeds from Google Reader (or any other reader) because you can import OPML files.The list of feeds auto-updated and easy to scroll through. Once set up you can access your personal page from any computer at http://dashboard.bloglines.com.
Conclusion for Bloglines:
Bloglines comes closest to the Google Reader experience and when you are someone who reads a lot of feeds or uses it for research, this one probably fits you very nice.
Netvibes has been around for quite some time and the basic (free) version is very much an RSS Reader if you can find one. That is probably because it originally IS an RSS Reader :).
Netvibes offers three versions: free, Premium for $499 a month (wow!) and Premium for teams, which needs a quote. It sounds expensive (and is tbh), but if you look at the features you’ll notice that the paid versions bring a lot more to the table, like analytics, tagging, curation, alerts, sentiments and collaboration. So when you are full into research, that might be an option. The free version is actually the exact same as bloglines.
The all platform alternative: Feedly
Feedly has been around for a few years now and is most comparable to services like Flipboard, because it mainly on mobile and tablet and gives you
If you are a Google Reader user it is actually quite simple to get all your feeds in there. You simply sign in. Feedly already announced it will be very easy Transitioning from Google Reader to Feedly. It is possible (and quite simple) to add feeds in your mobile device by searching on topic and then adding the feeds.
Feedly also provides a Desktop version. From whatever browser you can access the specific version for that specific browser. It allows you to access and add feeds from everywhere. The Desktop version gives you a choice in how you want to see your feeds, whether it is Magazine, Mosaic, Cards, Full pages or the good old list. The desktop version also makes it very easy to add websites and RSS feeds.
Conclusion on Feedly
Feedly is a very nice alternative, especially when you want to read your feeds on different locations and devices. It is most fit-able for those who like to read a lot, more than those using it to do research.
The pure tablet alternative: Flipboard
Flipboard was probably (one of the) first feed readers to specifically aim for the tablets and mobile devices. Flipboard therefore hasn’t got a Desktop version. The reader is like a newspaper which is fitted to your needs. You can add feeds and topics and there are suggested sites you can follow as well.
The feeds you can read via topics or you can even drill down to the specific site you want to read. Flipboard also lets you easily add Google Reader to your to read section. It has also said it is ready for the termination from Google Reader because once imported the feeds will stay there.
However, if you’ve set folders etcetera up within Google Reader they will come to your Flipboard but it will be more difficult to add feeds to a specific folder and the folders Flipboard offer are limited.
Conclusion on Flipboard
Flipboard is really great for those who want to stay up to date by reading. And only for those with iOS or Android. If you do research or keep track of clients feeds or specific keywords other options are better.
Other, not extensively researched options are:
Conclusion: To RSS or not to RSS, that’s the question
These are just a few alternatives for Google Reader, but there are more. Another way of keeping track of your RSS Feeds is off course e-mail, which in most cases has RSS import functionality. And what to think of Google+? You can create circles of your favourite sites and have feeds very easily that way…
But maybe it is time to say goodbye to RSS all together? Opinions on that differ. Bloggers and journalists will absolutely claim RSS is essential to what they do. On the other hand Social Media like Twitter, Facebook and maybe Google+ is the natural successor to Google Reader?
What are your thoughts, which one will you be using?