Leaving Google Reader: Five Paths Forward

LeavingGoogleReader

Photo by Katie Hunt

The hour is nigh. Google Reader, the RSS reader that quickly became the default for many blog readers and writers, is being discontinued as of midnight tonight. While there have been many, many articles written recently about what to do next, including one that appeared in this space recently, most focus almost exclusively on replacements for Reader.

As you might expect, there’s been a flood of new apps, sites, and add-ons that have been introduced or refined in recent months, all chasing the loyal Reader users who are being forced to find a new way to feed their blog habit.

While we once thought that there was a perfect replacement for Reader, or at least one that everyone would start using it, as July 1 approached we realized that we’re at a real turning point in blogging and RSS. Instead of everyone just finding their Reader replacement and continuing on as they were, people are taking one of several paths.

Today, we’ll focus on the big decisions you have to make about how to replace Google Reader. Thanks to our readers for providing their suggestions about how to best replace Reader.

 1. Go Startup

Unless you’re a web app obsessive, you probably didn’t think much about alternatives to Reader until Google announced it was going away. But for years start-ups like Feedly, Pulse, and News Blur were playing in the same space as Reader, but failed to get traction.

By selecting a startup company’s reader, you’re investing your time in a company that cares about making the best, and most innovative product. These companies aren’t seeking to just replace Reader; they want to reinvent the experience of reading blogs.

 2Go Established

While start-ups made the early headlines after Google announced in March that Reader would soon be no more, in the past month a number of more established players have entered the field. Last week, even AOL—remember them—announced its new reader.

Although we’re still waiting on tenterhooks about Facebook’s Reader replacement, Digg has made a solid web and app Reader-replacement that integrates with its already popular news services. You might also consider a site that integrate a RSS Reader with social media feeds, such as FlowReader.

3. Go Small

Even if others are excited about Reader-replacement feature sets, you might just want to replicate the simplicity and functionality of the old Reader.

For the literal minded, The Old Reader is just that, an attempt to remake Google Reader. If you’re nostalgic for desktop-based apps, RSS Owl is another good solution. We also like Newsvibe, and our readers have recommended Skimr.

4. Go Your Own Way

One option we didn’t discuss earlier is installing your own RSS reader on your server. If you choose to go this route, you have a range of options, from simple Reader replacements like Tiny Tiny RSS and OwnCloud News to feature-laden Fever, which lets you keep up with the hottest news on the web.

While it’s more complicated to set up these readers than the consumer-grade services discussed above, you’ll be able to use them without having to worry that they’ll be gone in a year, or five.

5. Try something new

Not everyone is making the switch to a new RSS reader. Some are changing how they read the news, either by relying on curated Twitter feeds, paying more attention to social media accounts, or just going back to the old bookmark system. If you’re not ready to make the switch to a new RSS reader, try something else for a month, and see if you miss it.

Many thanks to our commenters for suggesting their own Reader replacements. As we enter a new era of news and blog readers, we should all be ready for our reading habits to change once again. If you’ve found a system that works well for you, please list it below, and we’ll discuss it in an upcoming post.

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