When giant redwoods die in the forest, they crash thunderously to the ground, clearing a patch of sunshine and nutrients where new seedlings can grow. Today, Google finally downed Reader, the redwood of RSS services, giving young and hungry competitors a much needed spot in the sunshine.
Much ink has been spilled over the demise of Google Reader, a service that was especially popular with bloggers and journalists, which explains why the Internet’s collective reaction to news about its “sunsetting” seemed a bit overly dramatic. So I won’t discuss whether Reader deserved to be closed or not, and I won’t accuse Google of breaking my trust in its mostly free services, like some did.
I used Reader daily for my job, and back in March when Google announced that the service would be closed as part of its now infamous “spring cleanings”, I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to replace it.
I was wrong – Feedly sprang into action and immediately provided a solid, feature-rich alternative to Reader. A few weeks ago, I switched completely and I’ve never looked back. Feedly is faster and smoother than Google Reader ever was, and once you get used with its occasional quirks, it’s a pleasure to use. Feedly also provided its own cloud infrastructure and API, allowing other apps to use it, and thus ensuring the RSS ecosystem will continue to thrive.
But there are other worthy replacements beside Feedly – Digg and AOL just launched their own solid offerings, and some older apps are also worth a look – The Old Reader, Newsblurr, and RSSOwl are just a few. And there are the news reading apps like Pulse, Currents, Flipboard, and others, which essentially do the same thing in a more visually appealing way. Here’s a complete list of Google Reader alternatives.
For us Android users, my colleague Joe Hindy put together a nice list of RSS reading apps for smartphones and tablets – make sure to check out the post and the video.
Finally, before we bid Google Reader goodbye, know that you can still export your feeds and other data using the Google Takeout service, but only until 12PM PST July 15, 2013. After July 15, everything will be “systematically deleted” so make sure to get your stuff out if you want to keep it.