Google Reader Is Going Away; What Reader Alternatives Are There?

by on March 14, 2013

in consumer

When I heard that Google Reader was going away, I was a bit stunned.  Reader is THE most efficient way of keeping up with news sources without having to put up with the BS banter we can sometimes get from other kinds of “social” feeds.

Google says it’s part of their digital house cleaning.  I think it’s something else!

My reader is wonderfully customized after years of culling and labeling.  From my press release sources, industry news, weather, Google newsletter outlets, rehashers (that’s what I call blogs that report news that’s been reported.  Much like this one.) and a few other nifty sites.

But with my laser-focused reader going away, I’m a bit panicked.  It would seem to be, hands down, the best RSS reader I’ve found.  It’s concise and to the point, it works and…  oh s*!, I’ve got a lot of services locked into it!

But to be honest, USERS HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN.  But I only say that because like Facebook, Twitter and almost every other useful social service, IT’S FREE!  So it was a nice ride while it lasted, and sadly, I’ve become pretty dependent on it.  (A conundrum:  Users took to their other FREE social services to complain about this development!)

There are a ton of articles out there that have popped up suggesting Google Reader Alternatives.

CBS News  suggests

Netvibes
Feedly (Ah, that’s convenient! The Chrome version of Reader)
Newsblur

Oops:  Newsblur was in maintenance mode when I visited.  INCOMIIIIIING!!!!

Lifehacker suggests Cloud-Based News Readers.

They replicate CBS’s suggestion, but with one additional service,

The Old Reader

They also suggest desktop based services like FeedDemon… but I’m too mobile with too many venues for accessing the web, so I’m skipping that suggestion.  (For now)  (Hmm, and FeedDemon works off of Google Reader… well, they’ll figure it out.)

Ah, there you go, Newsblur is up!

Mashable suggests moving to Twitter (amongst other good thoughts they make about building your own reader.) but like I said, Twitter is not dependable.  Too many opinions, foul language from sources that don’t care about their readers, and somewhere in all the “banter” are the actual news headlines.  Meh…  not for me.

CNN adds a new service to the aforementioned readers of PULSE.

= = =

For me, Google Reader was a wonderful productivity tool and part of my Google ensemble of tools.  I’m already logged in to various facets of Google’s offerings and Reader was just one more venue.  If I need to go bring up Reader, I just clicked on my custom desktop webpage of links.

I see petitions popping up all over the place.  But this is like TV ratings.  If enough people tune out, it’s not worth their time.  Users trying to tell Google, the multi-billion-dollar (per quarter it seems) company, to stop their plans are like ants under a boot!  Do they even know they stepped on you?

I also see quite a few commentaries on how Google Plus is next to go away.  Boy, those folk are quite clueless.  But not by any fault of their own.  They just don’t realize how hard Google is driving the industry of blogging and hence, the web, towards Google Plus as they deploy new search rules making authorship via Google a viable looking option and other such moves.

In fact I started wondering to a peer of mine who emailed me about the news last night, exactly what or where their feed technology will appear next?  I wouldn’t be surprised if it shows up in Plus in some form or another.  Google’s been driving the world of the internet business man in the directions they want, ever so slowly, but surely.  So there’s that.

My other thought, where I won’t be surprised if it happens, is that Google kills the service, sits back and sees where everyone flocks to.  Then they buy up the most popular new reader users flocked to and then the fun begins… again.

Moving On From Reader

When you bring up Reader, you get a pop-up that says Google Reader will be retired.  YOU CAN get your core list of who you’re following. Head to Googles Reader Download instruction.

There, after following the directions, you will now have an uploadable file for other services to import so you don’t have to go through the trauma of refollowing your favorite sites in whatever new service you choose.

Me, I might go back to my old ways of bookmarking RSS feed links and checking out those actual pages, that are free of the cumbersome noise of scripts, ads and what not.

Right now NewsBlur’s demo is not impressing me…  It’s slow, bulky and the font isn’t very soothing.

NetVides seems pretty flashy.   And the dashboard seems bulky.  Sorry, I’m used to the row upon row of single line entries from GR. Ah!  There we go, a Reader option in there.  You can have a reader with titles or pictures.

The Old Reader seems to replicate the articles from the sites in some fashion with the entire piece frameworked in their page.

But that’s that for now.  I’m not overly fond of the options but right now NetVibes seems to agree with me more than most.  Or I just click on the RSS logos and bookmark those pages!

If Google (iGoogle) isn’t pulling out their “HomePage” you can add RSS feeds there too.  AH!!!  Never mind!!!  Google Home Page will be going away after November 1st, 2013.  Damn… had a good thing too.

Well, Yahoo lets you feed RSS feeds to their homepage.  Eh, I’ve never been a huge Yahoo…  hey.  Wait…  I just added my site’s RSS feed to my Yahoo page and pow, that looks pretty cool.  It’s got options and such for how the feed is replicated.  Fascinating.

So we have options.  It all depends on your tolerance for change, ease of use, or this has finally driven you right on over to Facebook.  Whatever the choice, I’m going to bet we’ll see reader again in some format.  That’s my guess, from what I’ve been watching over the last year or two from Google.

Until we’re all (forced) on Google Plus, see ya later.

Article originally published 3-14-13, updated 3-16-13:

Here’s an interesting tidbit from SEORoundTable where an ex-insider of the Google Reader team chimed in on the situation and were quoted to saying that:

“Why was Google Reader killed? Because the engineers who worked on Google Reader understood social and sharing better than anyone else. He said, within Google Reader, sharing was easy, fluid and very popular. That was until Google removed most of the sharing features when Google+ came around.”

Which in a way, supports my suspicions on how G is pushing everything they have and all their users, to Google+.  I swear, if MS did something like this with all their products, they’d be dragged into court… oh wait, they tried this already with Office and IE.

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