Google Reader Alternatives: 3 Web Based RSS Readers to Manage Your Subscriptions

UPDATE: Head over to the latest post with 11 RSS readers you can use as Google Reader alternatives starting July 1st!

If you follow my writing, you probably know how much I love Google Reader. As you can imagine, this stopped me in my tracks.

google-reader-closing-july-1-2013

That’s right. On July 1st, Google Reader says goodbye. The Learn More takes you to a page that tells you what you can export using their Google Takeout tool, but nothing in the way of alternatives.

Now there is three and a half months to find a suitable alternative.

A Little About How I Use(d) Google Reader

I follow a lot of blogs and various RSS feeds. 242 subscriptions to be exact.

how-i-use-google-reader

Each time I subscribe to a blog, I organize them by topic (Blogging, Freelance, Social Media, SEO, etc.). Then I rename each subscription with the blog’s main Twitter handle. This way, when I want to tweet a post I like, I don’t have to search for their @username. Plus, when I’m ready to periodically purge my RSS feeds, I can look at the Twitter handles and figure out quickly whether I have engaged with them or not.

I also use(d) the search in Google Reader for curating content. It made it easy to find posts on a specific topic so I could create lists like 79 Link Building Resources for 2012.

How to Export Your Google Reader RSS Feeds & Subscriptions

The first thing you will want to do is export your RSS subscriptions in Google Reader. To do this, you can go to Google Takeout and click the Create Archive button.

google-takeout-export-google-reader-rss-subscriptions

You will then get to download a zip file of your Google Reader subscriptions.

google-takeout-complete-download-file

In this zip file, you will find your subscriptions.xml which you can use to import your RSS feeds from Google Reader to other services.

My Favorite Google Reader Alternatives

Now that you know handle RSS feeds, here are the alternatives I am considering. I migrate from laptop to desktop to mobile, so I am only choosing web-based RSS readers that also play well on my iPhone. There are others if you want to install them to your computer like Feeddemon for Windows and Reeder for Mac. The following are my web-based favorites so far.

Feedly

Feedly works with Chrome, Firefox, and mobile devices and syncs with Google Reader to manage your RSS feeds. They are working on a system to transition all of your feeds from Google Reader into Feedly before July 1st.

google-reader-alternatives-feedly

Their platform allows you to display your subscriptions with titles only, magazine style, timeline with thumbnails, mosaic, or full articles. They also have a search option that lets you look through all of your subscriptions or subscriptions in a particular section.

google-reader-alternatives-feedly-search

At the bottom, you can also see results from the blogosphere. They have social sharing buttons and the option to save your favorite articles. Plus there is a number next to posts that is supposed to represent the number of Facebook Likes + Google +1’s a post has received. It doens’t always seem accurate, but it’s a good indicator of the popularity of a post.

feedly-scoring-system

They also have a mobile app with a nice display for your subscriptions.

feedly-rss-reader-mobile-iphone-app

Netvibes

Netvibes allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds and view them in a Reader (list) or Widgets view. Simply create a free account and click the +Add Content button at the top left of your screen. There you will find the option to import your subscriptions.xml file. Netvibes will import your feeds as you have them organized from Google Reader folders to Netvibes tabs.

google-reader-alternative-netvibes

I personally find the Reader view loads faster than the Widgets view. Within the Reader view, you can use the dropdown on the right side to switch from List (titles only), Expanded (titles and full article / summary) or Mosaic (thumbnails) view. You can also select themes to stylize your reader.

The one thing missing from Netvibes? Search. So far, I haven’t found a good way to search your feeds besides using the browser’s CTRL+F option which only gets you results that have loaded on the page vs. searching the entire RSS feed history. Load time was also slow, but it could be due to the number of people searching for Google Reader alternatives. That and the Lifehacker article that went live while I was testing. Otherwise, not a bad choice. They also have a clean interface for mobile browsing.

netvibes-rss-reader-mobile-browser

Newsblur

Next on the list is Newsblur. Once you have created an account, you will be taken through a Get Started guide that allows you to import directly from Google Reader.

google-reader-alternative-newsblur

After you import your feeds, you will get the option to stay with a free account with a limited number of feeds automatically selected by their system or upgrade to a mega account to have all of your feeds for $12 per year.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing this, their system was mostly down. In response, they tweeted this.

They seem to have a lot of great features, including the ability to save stories and even publish your favorites quickly to your own Blurblog. They are planning a revamp in the next week or two which should mean more features ty check out. Hopefully the main site will include my Twitter handles and a search.

Why You Need to Write About This

Do you have a lot of subscribers in Google Reader? You can find out by subscribing to your own RSS feed in Google Reader, clicking on the dropdown next to the feed, and selecting View Details and Statistics.

google-reader-feed-details

This is the number of subscribers you stand to lose in July. And you can’t trust that they will see your updates on social media (see my post on Facebook Edgerank for more on that) or that they’ll come back to subscribe to all of their blogs via email before the shutdown.

It doesn’t matter that every other blog is probably going to cover this story. You need to cover it for your audience. They trust you most!

If RSS subscribers are important to your readership, then you will need to educate your readers today on how to transfer their subscriptions from Google Reader to a Google Reader Alternative of their choosing. The more subscribers you can educate, the more subscribers you will keep.

Your Google Reader Alternatives

Now it’s your turn. What RSS reader are you using or planning to use once Google Reader disappears?

PS. Join the 45K signature strong petition to keep Google Reader alive at Change.org!

PPS. If you plan on abandoning RSS altogether, be sure to subscribe to my updates via email using the box below!





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Comments

  1. says

    Just what I was looking for Kristi!

    I was amazed too when I just checked my RSS just now and got this same message, and was wondering what to do, when I found your post – awesome timing. :)

    One is so used to Google reader and like you, I have it all topped us with various things. I liked what you wrote about managing it all by putting their Twitter handle – makes things so much easier.

    I love your alternatives, though I’ve also heard some people talk of Feedblitz – how is that if you have tried it? Some people have already switched to that as I started getting a re-direct from the reader to that one.

    From your list I guess Netvibes or Feedly would be good choices to consider, though need to look them up further. If all works well and Feedly does manage to work on their system to transit all the feeds from Reader – it would be the best. Heading right over and checking both of these.

    Thanks so much for sharing these alternatives with us. :)
    Harleena Singh just posted How to Deal With Children When They Get Angry

    • says

      You’re welcome! Feedblitz isn’t a RSS reader – it’s currently everyone’s backup plan if Google decides to kill off Feedburner next. They stopped supporting the Feedburner APIs, so it’s probably a matter of time. I’m not a fan of Feedblitz because you have to pay for email subscribers to your RSS which is free with Feedburner. I’m thinking if Feedburner goes down, I’ll just stick to Aweber.

    • says

      Hi Harleena – just like you I was accustomed to using Google Reader and was sad to hear it is being terminated. So far, I have been experimenting with Feedly, and I like it. However, and am also attracted to the free version of NetVibes, but have not had a chance to play with it yet.

      Hi Kristi – I am new here and I’m impressed with your helpful tips & info – the definition of great content. I’ll definitely be subscribing to your mailing list.

  2. says

    Hi Kristi,

    Today I entered in G. Reader and I found the same message – ouch! I based all my RSS subscriptions on them with different folders per topic.

    I used Feedly, but I stopped using in favor of Google Reader :-)
    At that moment, I couldn’t manage properly the order of the subscriptions and what were important to be at the top of the page with it. I don’t know nowadays and as it was expected, Feedly is down, right now.

    Sure, everybody is looking for alternatives. I’ll take a look to Netvibes.

    Bloglines was good some time ago, any idea about it?
    Gera just posted Resources

  3. says

    Hi Guys,
    If what you want is the ability to skim large #s of headlines, organize lots of feeds, label them, tag articles for later reading in one fast unobtrusive “no magazine layout” reader, SwarmIQ is your choice.
    Sign up at http://www.swarmiq.com/register/GOOGLEREADERISDEAD, click on the Google reader icon to get all your feeds, and get up and running straight away.
    “Surprise” disclosure: I’m on the team that built this site :-) Also, we don’t have “Google Alerts” type functionality yet.

  4. says

    Hi Kristi,

    If you’re looking for an alternative to skim headlines, please give Skim.Me (http://skim.me) a shot. We’re a startup releasing soon to help you keep up at a glance. I’m a cofounder for full disclosure :)

    Don’t pay attention to the picture on the splash page. We’re redesigning our skimmer from tiles to a list/stream of info (like Reader) but with an updated design.

    Best,

    Clint
    Clinton Wu just posted Experiment #2 & Next Version(s)

  5. says

    Google is shutting down its reader, including the possibility of feedburner?

    Whatever the case, I switched away from the Google reader a few months ago and went with another browser “rss” reader called Feeder.

    I love it even better and what’s nice every time you hit a new blog, it alerts you of a possible feed url on the blog and with a click of your mouse, you can subscribe easily.

    These alternatives look great too and must have a good amount of awesome features as well.

    Thanks for the article Kristi :)
    Samuel just posted 3 Twitter Tools For You To Succeed On Twitter!

    • says

      Feedburner has been rumored to shut down for awhile, especially since they stopped supporting the APIs. I’m holding out hope that they don’t since I don’t want to pay Feedblitz for my RSS email subscribers. :)

  6. says

    I saw the same message yesterday when I logged into Google Reader. It did bum me out. I am not a big fan of all the Google services, but I do like Reader. I am really not looking forward to testing out the alternatives, although thank you for the suggestions. I know I will end up spending more time than I should trying to find the one I like best. Did they give a reason for closing Reader?
    Ray just posted Does Your Website Seem To Be Down More Than Up?

    • says

      The reason is supposedly they want to focus on a smaller number of products. My husband thinks it’s all a plot to turn people away from following blogs anywhere else but Google+.

  7. says

    Kristi, I was shocked by the news too, as I use Reader every day. I’ve been using Feedly as my Google Reader interface for years, so I’m glad to hear they plan to provide a seamless transition. I’m also trying a product called The Old Reader, as this experience proves the wisdom of always keeping a backup option.
    Sharon Hurley Hall just posted So You Want to Hire a Professional Blogger?

    • says

      At least we can backup Google Reader feeds, although they don’t export to OPML anymore. Some feed readers only take that format, so it’s quite inconvenient.

  8. says

    I would like suggest another alternatives to google reader. Unlike ordinary RSS-readers, LikeHack (http://likehack.com) adds links from your Facebook and Twitter feeds, and also provides two kinds of custom filters to eliminate whole topics by keywords and exclude instagram photos and other media from your feed. It makes also all links you shared searchable.

    We have launched recently and glad to invite you to test!

  9. says

    Kristi, thanks for this great information. I too was quite stunned when I opened up my Google Reader this morning to find the message it wouldn’t be there after July 1. I’ve just made the switch to Feedly, and I’m already finding some advantages over GR. Thanks again!

  10. Erik says

    I am terribly sadened by the closing of Google Reader. I am able to go thru an amazing amount of dissimilar information quickly using the service. I really can’t imagine not having an equivilant. I am also not surprised. Google is focusing on information and monetization. Reader gave them neither. I am hoping that my favorite readers, Android Press and iOS Reeder both allow for subscriptions to other RSS Subscription services.

    I refuse to us the social sites for reading news. Not only is it slow but I feel like someone is tracking my every click and my likes to sell something to me.

    • says

      They had AdSense ads in many of the RSS feeds – not sure why they couldn’t monetize that by forcing them into all of the feeds. But oh well. :)

      • Erik says

        But they only had AdSense if you were using Googles Reader Website. If you used an application (like Reeder or Press), then there were no ads. I am also not sure if the apps striped the click thru data either.

        My other fear is that this will be a signal sites that RSS feeds are no longer useful. While a majority of Web Servers/App Servers make it easy to create, it is still a choice.

  11. says

    Wow… that is new for me! Google reader will disappear soon. What a surprise!
    Well, I was not such a fan of using these feed reader myself, I’d rather use just an application installed on Google Chrome which is really handy for me. But I tried Netvibes this week, it seems to work fine, but I will continue to use my add-on on Google Chrome!
    Nice article Kristi!! I am a big fan!!
    Felipe Kurpiel just posted Mobile Monopoly – Exploring Mobile Marketing!

    • says

      Thanks Tom! I unfortunately chose to do my homework while all of the sites were crashing from the news, but it all turned out well in the end. :)

  12. says

    Hey Kristi, I’m hoping the solution is Feedly (no pressure guys…), it’s nice and clean and it’s already in my “daily toolbox”, I’m really not looking forward to integrating anything new.

    As for Feedburner, which will die next as you well say in one of the comments below, it’s been almost a year since I removed the RSS subscription options to focus exclusively on Aweber so, I’m happy to report there IS life after Feedburner and I think it was a good the decision.

    Happy Thursday!

    • says

      Happy Thursday to you too! I guess the reason I love offering RSS is because I like using RSS. I’m integrating Aweber more into my theme, so maybe that will be the ultimate solution. Thanks for stopping in! :)

  13. cate says

    I’ve been browsing some of the alternative sites and would like to try some of them out, but I’m having trouble downloading the .zip file. I click the “download” button, I’m asked to log in, I log in, I see the “download starting” box, and then nothing. I’ve tried three times. I’ve searched my hard drive for the file name and even just for “.zip.” Nothing. No idea what I’m doing wrong

      • cate says

        Nope, nothing like that is appearing. I have 141 subscriptions. I waited several hours between first and second try.

        • says

          That’s odd. My only guess would be they’re having a huge overload of people jumping ship since their announcement and that you might want to wait a day or two to try again. Services like Feedly and Newsblur will import directly from Google Reader without the file if you’re considering those.
          Kristi Hines just posted Why Your Business Needs a Blog

          • cate says

            Thanks. I’ll try again in a day or two. Fingers crossed it will work. Manually transferring 141 subscriptions would not be my favorite way to spend time. Not at all pleased with Google right now.

            I’m also curious what you and others think of the mobile versions of feed readers. I tried the Feedly and Currents iphone apps and didn’t like either one. I kept having to manually refresh Feedly, Currents seems to want to add a bunch of stuff to your feed that you may not even want, and you still have to individually click “add” for all the feeds from Reader that you want to have show up in it.

  14. says

    I like that Netvibes has an auto add feature from Feedburner, but it does stink that it lacks any effective search filter. I was using Thunderbird with RSS feeds to, your email client can often serve as a feed importer/reader as well but it tends to be a little slower than a cloud service running in a browser.
    Justin Germino just posted Avast Free Antivirus 8 Review – New Features

    • says

      I would love Netvibes if they had a search feature – glad I didn’t just miss it. I also need my feeds in the cloud since I switch devices often. :)

  15. says

    Kristi,

    I was so bummed to see the announcement yesterday, and Feedly is at top of my list so far too.

    BUT!

    I just want to tell you that your tip to rename your subscriptions with Twitter handles is BRILLIANT. Brilliant.

    I’ve loved being able to use Buffer straight from Reader, but it makes me crazy that the Twitter handle doesn’t automatically populate (as I always like to include the mention). This will make things so much easier. Thank you!

    When you imported your feeds into Feedly, the subscription imported as the Twitter handle, yes?

    Thank you so much for this tip. And post. Good stuff.

  16. Rick Newton says

    Hi Kristi

    Nice article. I have started using Rolio.com which offers RSS feeds as well as my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Really simple looking and easy to use. Even has a Google Reader import.

  17. says

    I just logged in to my netvibes account, probably the first time in 3-4 years. I’m amazed (and delighted) that they are still in business.

    Too bad about Google Reader. I was an extensive user of Google Notebook as well, and when they shut that down, it put me off online bookmarking and note taking in a pretty big way. I’ve never been willing to put the energy into Evernote or Delicious since then.

    It just occurred to me that I might be able to archive my browser bookmarks on Github. That would be a long term solution.
    Dave Doolin just posted Test-driven development: structuring workflow

  18. says

    Thanks Kristi to find better alternative..
    I was worried to manage my existing Subscriptions, now I find a better alternative..
    Thanks for sharing..

  19. says

    My day Starts with Google Reader On my mobile :)
    I know Fancy news readers like Pulse or Flipboard are nice, but Google Reader is much faster for me because it is a straightforward app.
    I am using feedly for my desktop , but it is not compatible with my mobile :(
    Hope some one will come with a lite RSS web app like Google reader very soon…Or is there anything already ?
    Thanks Kristi For the grate post.
    Vishnu Aniyan just posted 9 Top Shortcut On The Keyboard To Become A Gmail Ninja

  20. says

    I was very interested with the responses after Google took down it’s reader. I was unaware that people still used the service much, though shutting it down seems to suggest that. I suppose it is fortunate that there are alternatives out there, but I think alternatives to RSS feeds as a whole will be the longer terms solution.

  21. says

    I am amazed at how many people want to cry about it instead of looking for solutions and moving on, Kristi.

    Well, I am half way there – I’ve done my research on alternatives (http://www.slideshare.net/MeetAna/google-reader-alternatives); now I just need to actually pick one and move my feeds. :)

    Mentioned this post in my new weekly marketing skinny (CL link); thanks for showing what these readers look like!
    Ana just posted Weekly Marketing Skinny: Google Reader Alternatives? I Haz Them

  22. says

    I use netvibes, but the interface is a bit busy. I really miss Google reader and I really hope they don’t kill off feedburner. RSS is becoming a bit dated (though I still use it) but most of my traffic with regards to Feedburner has come by way of the email feature to my websites and it’s a nice alternative for people who just want to subscribe your website and not your email list.
    David just posted How To Make Money With Google AdSense – The Playbook For Your First $10 Day

    • says

      All signs seem to be pointing towards Feedburner being next to go. I’m getting ready to start the migration from Feedburner to Feedblitz.

  23. says

    I find it incredible that so many people dislike standalone platforms so much but that’s where I’ve gone. I’ve been a big fan of a program called Feedreader for 6 years and I’m glad it’s still around for me to use. It’s also very easy to subscribe to feeds with it.
    Mitch Mitchell just posted The Secret To Success Is…

    • says

      For me, it’s because I’m always back and forth between my laptop and my iPhone. I would lose a lot of reading time if I didn’t have the option to see my same feeds on mobile.

    • says

      I think their goal is to put more effort into the stuff they do plan on keeping like G+, Analytics, YouTube, etc. But I know what you mean. They’ve bought up and subsequently closed several things I like using, so every time they announce something new, I think “Yeah, right, let’s see if this sticks around after a year.”

  24. says

    Thanks for this list. I still don’t really understand why they’re pulling it, especially if they’re not replacing it with something. Personally I like all of my stuff connected to my Gmail, because it makes everything simple to manage. Now I have to go somewhere else for my readers.. lame!
    Donny just posted DragonVale: How to Breed Gemstone Dragons

  25. says

    Google Reader was one of my favorite online tool for monitoring the web, I didn’t follow any of the source on social network but on Google Reader and Alerts to keep a strict eye on my following. However, with the announcement of Google Reader service, I become very sad.

    In a recent week, I tried to make a move on Feedly, so far I am liking the service! I have also installed Feedly companion application on my iPhone & iPad devices.
    Geeksays just posted Google Nexus 5 Phone Under Production By LG



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