On 1st July 2013, Google is pulling the plug on the only app I actually use every day! Reader has been the place to keep up with news from all the bogs and sites I have taken an interest in for the last few years. But now the Grand Daddy of the web is to have a “spring clean” and loosing lots of friends in the process. The demise of Reader causes me to question the wisdom of relying on Google for anything, but for now here are some of the alternatives I’ve been exploring.
Feedly is actually an app, rather than a plain web service like Reader. You can use the free Google (!!) Chrome app or grab it for Android (!!) or for iOS. You connect to Feedly using your Google (!!) account, but in seconds all your Reader feeds are presented to you in Feedly’s magazine-like views. It’s the smoothest transition to a new app you’ll find, it is pretty impressive and looks useful. But right now it is free, which given the Reader experience makes me a little nervous about it. However, it urns out like with many of these new apps, a pro version is on the way.
NewsBlur provides Web, Android and iOS interfaces. The demise of Google’s product has got all these other providers pulling out the stops to get people moved across on to their own platform. NewsBlur is no exception and the first step on their set-up wizard gives you the option to import your Reader feeds.
Overall the interface is generally pretty ugly, nothing like as slick as Feedly. Functionally it seems OK and if you have a lot of feeds then the interface may turn out to be more productive for you.
3. The Old Reader
The Old Reader aims to be a direct replacement for reader, but does not yet have a mobile app. The web interface is still usable on mobile and you can import your Reader feeds, but being free and in a kind of beta, this may not be the best long term option.
Feedbin is a paid for service (without a trial period!) which also looks like a viable replacement for Reader.
For now Feedly seems about the best of the bunch and will be interested to see what their Pro offering entails. Perhaps in my spring clean, I will also find alternatives to all the other Google services I rely on too!
I predict that we will see an increasing number of paid web apps in the next couple of years, replacing a number of key free services as users look for long-term commitment from app providers and as the providers themselves realise the “always free” model of business doesn’t really work.