My Google Reader Alternative

A few weeks ago my heart was broken!

Google announced that they were going to retire Google Reader on July 1, 2013.

What was I going to do?

Google Reader has been the center of my RSS life. I use it to keep track of all the blogs I read, the RSS feeds from Google Alerts, and as my main content curation tool of choice.

The Contenders

When I read that Google was going to retire Reader I immediately begin researching Google Reader alternatives and determined that there were three alternatives that I would research: Newsblur, The Old Reader, and Feedly.

I was going to compare the three products based on three must-have features for me:

  • The ability to import my Google Reader feeds
  • The user interface
  • The ability to share posts – especially using one of my favorite tools: Buffer.

The Old Reader

I first began testing The Old Reader which says this about themselves:

Welcome to The Old Reader, the ultimate social RSS reader. It’s just like the old google reader, only better.

When I logged into The Old Reader I initially liked it’s very clean interface but was quickly disappointed when comparing this tool to my metric:

  • Import – The Old Reader does allow you to import an OPML which will get your Google Reader files into The Old Reader but it does take a few steps and isn’t as elegant as some of the other tools in my challenge.
  • UI – While I initially liked the user interface the more I played around with it I found it a little too simplistic. I thought it was clean but ultimately felt it lacked a robust set of features.
  • Sharing – The Old Reader didn’t stack up in terms of sharing. I wasn’t able to share posts using Buffer and The Old Reader really only allows you to share posts using Facebook and you can send posts to Pocket – a service I love for collecting articles I want to read at another time.

Unfortunately, The Old Reader failed all three of my metrics and I needed to move on.

NewsBlur

The next service I researched was NewsBlur. Upon setting up my account I found the user-interface more feature-rich and I was also able to import my Google Reader feed but in the end was disappointed with the sharing options.

  • Import – NewsBlur did allow me to import my Google Reader feeds by logging into Reader through NewsBlur. The process was easy and worked perfectly.
  • UI – While I did find the user-interface more feature rich I ultimately didn’t like how busy the UI ended up being. Honestly, it’s not that I didn’t like the UI it simply was a matter of preference.
  • Sharing – While NewsBlur did offer more options to share it didn’t have an option to share using Buffer.

NewsBlur did have a slick import feature and a UI that was intuitive but the lack of sharing using Buffer forced me to move onto Feedly.

Feedly

After my disappointment with The Old Reader and NewsBlur, I decided to check out Feedly. As soon as I logged into Feedly I was impressed. My initial reaction was this is what Google Reader should have been if Google had actually updated Reader over the years.

  • Import – Feedly allowed me to quickly and easily import my Google Reader feeds and get started almost immediately.
  • UI – The user interface is fantastic – I found it somewhere in between the over-simplicity of The Old Reader and the complexity of NewsBlur. Another great feature of Feedly is that is allows you to change the Default view to either Titles Only (Most like Google Reader), Magazine, Card, Full Articles.
  • Sharing – This is where Feedly stole the show! Not only does Feedly allow me to share a post using Buffer but it also allows me to send a post to Evernote, Pocket, Instapaper, and Delicious. You can also share a post directly to Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

The Winner

And the winner is – Feedly!

Feedly handled all of my must-haves – the ability to import my Google Reader feeds, a great user-interface, and the ability to share posts using Buffer. I’ve been using it now for a few weeks and I have to admit – I actually like it better than Google Reader. Is it OK to say that?

Although Feedly is my choice your choice could be different depending on what you look for in an RSS reader.
While I highly recommend that you check out Feedly please don’t forget to check out The Old Reader and Newsblur.

  • I initially went with Feedly as well; however, I was ultimately turned off by the inability to search for keywords in feeds.

  • I had the same reaction to the announcement by Google and after my search I chose bloglovin. I am getting used to it.

  • Thanks for the review Brendan! I know that you use Sprout Social and I do as well. Do you know if Feedly will work with Sprout Social? One of the things I love about Sprout Social is that I can import my feeds from Google Reader.

  • Hi Alison, I don’t know if Feedly will work with Sprout Social but my guess is that more and more web apps will begin to look at adding this functionality now that Google Reader is going to be retired.

  • Yeah…Is there another app that would alert me when my keywords are being used like Google Reader did? thanks 🙂

  • Hi @248c0a7df6ad85edbc09a252c2c1490f:disqus and @74875a6cf745bcc98d7f1154afeb9efb:disqus – I suggest you try TalkWalker.com. I think there FREE alerts might satisfy what you are looking for.

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