So if you somehow haven’t heard, Google Reader is set to be discontinued on July 1st. To put it bluntly, it sucks. While not as many people use Google Reader as there used to be, those of us left that do use it do so religiously. So the hunt begins for a Google Reader replacement and we’d like to help by putting together a list of the best Android Google Reader replacement apps. Word on the internet is that the Google Reader link is no longer available on Google+, but it’s available on every other Google service. So this list may be a temporary solution as Google+ may be getting its own news service. That’s strictly conjecture, but hey, just saying. As usual if you’d rather watch than read, there’s a video posted at the bottom!
We start our Google Reader replacement list with Feedly. The reason is because a whole bunch of people have already chosen Feedly as their replacement. According to some reports, over half a million people have already migrated. Feedly was among the first to offer a solution to the Google Reader replacement problem as they’re developing their own back end service called Normandy. Many of us here at Android Authority are big fans of Mass Effect references.
As an app, Feedly looks very good. It’s got a polished interface with a variety of views that will make anyone feel at home. There is a card view for people who like to look at pictures, a magazine style view, and a list view for those pros who like to view a lot of content very quickly. Also, there are a couple of themes, it’s free in the Google Play Store, and come July 1st, it’ll still be running. All great things going for Feedly.
If you’re trying to stick with Google built applications when replacing Google Reader, then Google Currents is the unofficial Google Reader replacement. This really didn’t make a lot of people very happy at first, but depending on what you use RSS readers for, Google Currents could actually be a pretty decent replacement. By that, we mean if you’re one of those types that uses RSS to find something fun to read while waiting for an appointment, Google Currents could be for you. If you’re one of those people who blaze through content quickly, you may want to find another alternative.
Google Currents has a very nice interface, but it’s definitely geared for the casual reader. You can swipe left and right to change feeds and up and down to scroll articles. That’s pretty much all there is to it. It’s very simple and quick. However, as stated, getting through a lot of content really fast takes a lot of time. Also, as mentioned above, Google+ has been estranged from Google Reader specifically, so Google may not be going with Google Currents as its main news source. Again, though, that’s just conjecture right now.
If you are a casual reader, there are few readers better than the popular Flipboard. It features a magazine style layout with large pictures, big text, and an ease of use that many readers on this list don’t share. When Google Reader goes dark, Flipboard will still be around so switching over now and getting used to it means come July 1st, you won’t have to worry about Google Reader replacement.
Getting around the app is pretty simple. Pretty much everything is controlled with up and down swipes and screen taps. Swipe up and down to view feeds, then select a feed and swipe up and down to view articles. Click and article and read. For those who like to chew through content in their RSS apps, Flipboard will be frustrating as it takes a lot of swipes to get anywhere. The casual reader, though, should really enjoy the polished interface.
So far our list has been dominated by beautiful applications that, while gorgeous, aren’t great for pros who like to get through a lot of content quickly. gReader Pro is nothing like that. It features a much more traditional interface for an RSS app and one that much more closely resembles Google Reader itself. In their app description, gReader Pro throws their bid into the pile for Google Reader replacement as they plan on continuing service after July 1st.
As stated, the interface is simple and traditional. It features list views, a much more minimalist app structure, and getting through a lot of content very quickly is very simple. So if you’re a blogger who is looking for the big stories going on or just someone who likes knowing everything that’s happening, gReader Pro could be the best replacement.
In addition to being simple to use, gReader Pro also has a variety of settings to customize your experience. There are a few themes, a few different ways to set things up, and it really tries to make their users feel at home. The casual user may balk at the simplicity of the app and it’s lack of flash, but the pros will feel right at home once Google Reader kicks the digital bucket.
So far, most of the apps on this list more or less perform the same task. You select some RSS feeds, then shuffle through them every day looking for news. News360 differs in this area. While there are some feeds available and you can select your areas of interest (i.e. Technology, Android, Sports, Cooking, etc), News360 actually takes a different approach. When you use News360, you have an option to like and dislike articles that it shows you. Based on which feeds you choose to read and what you like and don’t like, News360 adjusts the content to your liking. This makes News360 the most unique Google Reader replacement app on this list.
Using it is very simple. You load the app, swipe left and right to view new stories, and click to read the article. Inside the article, you can actually select different blogs that covered the same stuff. So if you’re reading an article from The Verge, there may be an option to read Ars Technica’s write up of the same event. This is great for article comparisons and seeing more than one point of view on a topic. Due to manually built feeds taking a total backseat in News360, this will appeal to the casual reader more. Still, it’s a really cool concept.
Press Reader is kind of like a mix between Feedly and gReader Pro. It has a little flash to it to appease the casual reader who wants to read their news on something that looks good. However, it also has it’s content well laid out for the pro who wants to fly through content quickly. It isn’t the highest rated app on the list, but for people who want a little of column A and a little of column B, Press can be a decent Google Reader replacement.
Press has a simple enough UI. You start with a categories list followed by a feeds grid. Where it starts to get interesting is when you select a feed you get a list of articles. Select an article and a page slides in where the article appears. You can read it and there are two buttons in the bottom that let you go back and forth between articles. Then you swipe the page away to go back to the list. So it’s a little flashy but still functional. However, it definitely has that jack of all trades, master of none quality that may chase people to other Google Reader replacements.
The last two apps on our list, which is Taptu and Pulse, have a very similar layout and it’s wildly different from the other Google Reader replacement apps. The first we’ll talk about, Taptu, has the advantage of being a very good looking application and a very functional one. Taptu does focus more on the flashy side of RSS reading rather than the functional side.
In the unique layout, users select feeds as they would any normal RSS app. The feeds are listed vertically and the articles are listed horizontally. So you scroll up or down to find the feed you want. You can then scroll left and right to view content from that feed. What makes Taptu truly fun is the ability to merge feeds. So if you wanted to merge, say the popular hockey blogs Puck Daddy and Down Goes Brown into a single NHL feed to save space, you could do that. Of course, the most important feature, is that Taptu remains alive after Google Reader dies in a few months.
Yes, you read that right. There was a point when Steve Jobs once recommended Pulse to everyone as an RSS reader. Even though we’re not always fans of iPhones around these parts, a recommendation from the guy who saved Apple is worth looking into. As it turns out, Pulse is not only Apple approved, but it’ll also outlive Google Reader. It features an interface similar to Taptu’s but a little more flashy. At it’s core, it’s the same vertical feed list with the horizontal article scrolling.
The good news is that Google Reader content is very easy to port in. Once it’s in, it becomes Pulse content so when Google Reader bets the digital farm, Pulse will have your content waiting for you. The bad news is that there are some serious limitations to this app. During testing, I maxed out my Technology category and had to create a category with the brilliant and original name of Technology 2. So if you’re a pro user with a whole bunch of content, you’ll either have to make multiple categories to house the same type of news or find a different Google Reader replacement. For the casual user, though, Pulse should work really well.
As you can see from the leader board, some of these apps are better than others. If you’re wondering what our rating system is, keep guessing because we don’t have one. These apps were ranked based on their overall rating in the Google Play Store. So this is how the people who use these apps every day have rated them. We’d also like to give a honorary mention to Pocket. Pocket is an application that saves articles from most of these RSS feeds for offline reading. It doesn’t aggregate news on it’s own, but it seems to be working on just about all these apps so it’s worth mentioning. You can find it in the Google Play Store here.
It’s an unhappy time that Google Reader is leaving. Some people never got into Google Reader and didn’t use it. Some used it religiously. Even some of our writers and editors here at Android Authority used Google Reader to help find great content to bring to you guys, our readers. However, it’s about that time to spend a few final days with Google Reader and find a replacement.
As always, if there’s a great Google Reader replacement that we missed, feel free to leave a comment below telling us about it. Also, there is a very high probability that more Google Reader applications will continue to run after the service goes dark and just hasn’t announced it yet. So if your favorite reader happens to be on that list and it’s not on ours then, again, feel free to drop a comment and let us know.