Updated: Nine Google Reader Alternatives for the Hard-Core User

logo[1]  Update: This post how features 9 possible Google Reader alternatives.When Google announced yesterday that they were cutting me off from Google Reader, I (and many others) suddenly had to scramble to find a new dealer for my news addiction.

I'm still in the middle of picking a replacement, but so far I have been a little disappointed at some of the suggestions put forward by other blogs. Some of these fools threw together a list of apps like Pulse, Flipboard, Google Currents, and the like, none of which meets the needs of the average Google Reader user.

Those apps are all intended for entertainment reading, not for use by hard-core news junkies like myself. The hard-core user needs a way to pack as much info on screen at once. We are not out to be entertained; we want to get as much info as possible.

I follow 1900 feeds, and while that is a little extreme I bet that anyone who follows more than 100 RSS feeds has the same needs I do. Rather than suggest useless apps, I am going to list the ones that I plan to test:

Feedly

NewsBlur

Tiny Tiny RSS

The Old Reader

BlogLines

Opera (this web browser has a feed reader built in)

FeedsAnywhere

Update: And here are a couple late additions:

Bazqux

CommaFeed

--

Feedly looked like an early contender,and the developers behind this app had even been working on a setup called Normandy that operated completely independently of Google Reader. But I've tried it and I don't like the UI. First and foremost the UI designer thinks gray text on a gray background is a good idea, but I also don't like Feedly because it defaults to the same prettified and information-poor layouts found in apps like Flipboard, Google Currents, etc.

Feedly is rapidly growing to be the leading replacement for Google Reader. This service has responded quickly to the influx of GR users and added features, viewing modes, and defaults that might fill the needs of a hard-core news junky.

I have given up on using the rss feed reader option in Opera. It is frankly an ugly and minimally functional cobbled together afterthought that doesn't offer nearly the features viewing modes, or functions I need. Plus I think it gave me a migraine - twice.

CommaFeed is a relatively newcomer to the market. As of late May 2013, this service is still ramping up from its first few thousand users while adding features as fast as it can.

Bazqux is an established but relatively unknown news reader. It is nearly as feature rich as Google Reader was and can support a thousand or more feeds. This is a paid service and it does not currently have any mobile apps.

FeedsAnywhere is a very mobile friendly, free, durable news reader that works well on small screens. It too can support a high number of RSS feeds.

I have not tried all of the rest.  Have you? What do you think?

 

About Nate Hoffelder (11581 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

35 Comments on Updated: Nine Google Reader Alternatives for the Hard-Core User

  1. So far I’ve tried Feedly & The Old Reader. The Old Reader seems awfully slow. In fact, so slow I’m not getting anywhere with it. I’ve looked a little at Newsblur but still have yet to give it a go. Feedly seems to be my option right now, but then I only have about 24 blogs I follow.

  2. I’ve been using Feedly for a while (synced to Google Reader) and rather like it. The content is rendered on a white background, at least, and it’s fast and efficient for keeping up with large numbers of feeds. Only drawback is that they auto-mark feeds as Read after 30 days. Or is that Google? Can’t remember!

  3. Feedly shows promise. You can’t change the grey text but selecting a darker theme (bottom left of screen) makes it bearable.

    Go into preferences and change the default view to ‘Full article’ for a more G-Readery feel.

  4. Thanks for posting a list of useful replacements. Most of replacements suggested by others seem to think I want my RSS feeds replaced by a bunch of pretty, but useless pictures. I do nearly 100% of my feed reading on my phone, as the app version is streamlined perfectly for this. Just a long scroll of headlines and some text should I choose to go deeper.

    I’m really not interested in replacing that experience with a data-heavy, slowly moving picture book. Apparently, many developers feel I won’t be able to navigate a few hundred RSS feeds without pausing frequently to gasp at their brilliant layout scheme. I don’t need ostentatious. I need useful.

    • I think Feedly is out, then.

      I’ve spent the day with the Android app and I can’t find a way to get rid of the prettified theme. There’s also no other option than to see gray text on a gray background.

  5. I had tried TTR in the past, but just kept using Reader. I’ll probably just end switching over to Feedly fulltime (it’s currently the client I use on my phone for GReader). While I also don’t care for its WebUI all that much, I do like Feedly’s android app.

    In the meantime, I’m going to re-setup TTR on my home server and give it a-go again.

    In the end, this might even workout better. As noted by all the articles this morning, most everyone relied on Reader, so RSS never really advanced. With it’s demise, more services that sync as effortlessly as Reader did might be brought forth.

    I also feel, shutting down Reader is a really bad move for Google. Although they said many people didn’t use it, those that did REALLY used it. Now that these same users are scrabbling to find alternatives, there’s is no doubt they will also be investigating alternatives to Google’s other services, like Calendar, Gmail, and Contacts. Those users also include most tech writers and bloggers, who will be writing about these alternatives. Although it may takes months or years, it will eventually erode on Google’s mindshare.
    Just my opinion of course.

  6. I imagine I’ll be trying out quite a few services to figure out what will replace my GReader habit, but I just want to point out that Feedly does have some additional options for the way it presents feeds, at least on the desktop. When viewing your feeds using the Feedly bookmarklet on Firefox, you can default to a title list, you can change font colors for read vs. unread, and more. Haven’t had a chance to see what the preferences can be changed to on my Android phone or tablet, though.

    See more on their blog post:
    http://blog.feedly.com/2013/03/14/tips-for-google-reader-users-migrating-to-feedly/

    • Yes there is a title only view but the default is the showy prettified layout. And if you want the title only view you have to switch over one folder or feed at a time. That is annoying.

      • Hmm, I wonder if that’s a bug? Some of my folders display feeds by title/condensed, and some don’t. And when I go into “preferences” while having a particular folder open that is displaying the “prettified” version, it still tells me that I’m viewing in condensed. All my other settings (change color of text for read articles, etc) transfers across folders.

  7. I’m in the process of testing Feedly as well and while it gets a lot of stick for its color scheme, you can actually change it pretty easily to something that’s easier on the eyes (under “change themes in the left column).
    The closest you’ll probably get to a Reader experience will probably be by selecting “titles” under “layout and filtering”.

  8. For RSS reading I use Thunderbird, which I also use as my mail client. So RSS feeds all show up just like e-mail. Works for me, but I only follow 160+ feeds.

  9. Here is the criteria for my new RSS Reader:

    Since I use the gReader pro app on my Android tablet (I paid $5 for it), it depends on what service they are going to allow me use.

    P.S.
    Since they no longer can call themselves a “Google reader” app, will they have to change their name from gReader? Provocative, but I doubt it.

  10. I’m still using Bloglines, not perfect, but it’s still working. I just worry that since it’s not their main focus, it will go away. I use My Yahoo for basic news but it doesn’t really work for RSS feeds.

  11. Note that the Bloglines RSS reader is now just a rebadged NetVibes RSS reader.

  12. Google Reader is so much a part of my day that it’s become automatic; the thought that it’s dead makes me alternately saddened and enraged.

    I too have looked at the replacements. I have over a thousand feeds. The replacements are for casual users, as you point out.

    The Reeder app people tweeted that Reeder (which takes the feeds from GR) wasn’t going away, which is something. They say they have a fix in the works. However, although I have Reeder on my devices, I nevertheless spend most of my time on Google Reader itself.

    I tried Feedly, and I hate it.

    Before GR, I used BlogLines, so I might go back to it — but I’m wary. I moved on from that when Yahoo said they were shutting it down.

  13. Nate, give Opera a try.
    Last time I looked it was pretty powertool-like.

    • Tried it. Don’t like it. It’s missing a lot of features like

      There’s no way to:

      • hide the folders and feeds that don’t have new posts (Opera insists on showing everything)
      • mark all the feeds and folders as read – this has to be done one folder or feed at a time
      • hide the already read posts – this has to be done one folder or feed at a time
      • increase the font size

      Opera is great for the medium heavy user but if you have more folders and feeds than can be viewed at one time it is not so great.

      It also gave me a headache. This is the first time in a very long while that I can recall getting a headache at the end of the day. I think it might have been the font size, or possibly the gray text on the gray background.

  14. One of my friends pointed me to Netvibes, and so far I’m liking it. Easy to take the exported subscriptions file from Google and import it. Choice between widgets and list. It took me just a few minutes to set it up, and I’m happy so far. I’m just a “casual” reader with only a few feeds, but another friend set up his account on Netvibes with over a hundred feeds, and he had no problems setting it up, either. So, it might be worth a look-see!

  15. I’ve been playing around with various alternatives, and so far the clear winner is NewsBlur. Has a functional iOS app, and the PC/Web interface is solid and functional, not an “Oh, look at me” POS.

  16. I used Feedly until they changed their look to feel more like Flipboard.
    I like being able to skim down the kist and pick the ones I can read now, the ones I save to Instapaper, and the ones I delete. I have been Reeder which is great on the Mac and iOS. But Reeder required Google Reader. They have said that they will find a solution. I hope they do.

    I did finally get through to sign up for NewsBlur. I find it slow and it doesn’t have a quick way to save to Instapaper. I looked at NetVibes but it seems more for those who like those obnoxious HomePages like iGoogle.

  17. I looked at a number of these and theoldreader.com seems pretty good. I signed up for an account and tried to import my feeds, but it stopped after 2 thanks to all the thousands of people looking for an alternative. I’ll probably give it a 2nd in a month or so when the dust has settled a bit. All the alternatives appear to be drowning in new users at the moment.

    Right now, I’ve moved over to using a Firefox plugin called Brief, which gives me decent, basic functionality. I have about 200 feeds, but few of them are very high volume. I also don’t tend to bookmark or star a lot within them, because web pages are so inherently ephemeral, if I really want to keep the information I print it to PDF or save the page locally. Brief seems to be working pretty well for tracking the feeds.

    The major downside to it is that it’s on my laptop, so if I’m on the road without it, my feed history is gone. I read mostly on my personal laptop, and if I’m traveling on business I normally just take the work laptop and a portable hard drive. Firefox portable might solve that for me.

  18. I’m waiting to see what the owners of Netnewswire decide. There’s a good chance that they (along with reeder) will develop their own product by July, hence I think its too early to consider jumping.

  19. The most hard-core yet usable Google Reader came to my mind is Fever.

    http://feedafever.com/

  20. I tried Feedly but didn’t like it. It was ok at first, took some getting use to with the blog-like format. However, I had installed it on my Safari and some “slow scripts” were affecting the way Safari was running and I had to uninstall.

    I am trying NewsBlur now, but I don’t like how I can have “followers” and all of that mess. I just want to read my feeds and get the info! Is it that hard???

  21. I don’t like feedly too. I tried scrollable news widget. Not bad if u are like me who view news on home screens.

    Does the demise of Google reader also meant that I can’t use the app to get RSS feed? It is not able to pull direct?

  22. The problem with Newsblur is you can only have 64 feeds active at a time unless you do a pay subscription. For heavy users, I follow about 500, that means this is not a free option.

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