RSS bleg

by on March 13, 2013 at 11:02 pm in Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink

Google Reader is shutting down in a few months, so what to do?  Your suggestions would be most welcome, please leave them in the comments.

A related question is which blogs will be harmed the most by this development, assuming that the #2 choice of reader isn’t as good.  Very old blogs may be reevaluated as choices to follow, since we all will have to fill out new feeds all over again.  Blogs which post not so frequently will be hurt too, in relative terms as well as absolute.  If you know a blog will post frequently, you simply might substitute into site visits.  This will also likely hurt blogs with a lot of ads, such as the Forbes blogs which I know, again speaking in relative as well as absolute terms.

Addendum: Here are comments from Matt.

Don March 13, 2013 at 11:05 pm

I’d be keen to see complete iGoogle replacements too (integrated rss reader, email, weather, etc)

David March 14, 2013 at 2:09 am

For iGoogle, there’s always I believe it predates iGoogle, and it’s essentially the same thing.

john personna March 14, 2013 at 11:14 am

When I dropped iGoogle I went to

It’s a different thing, but I used iGoogle to put things in front of me daily. I use what page to rotate things in front of me. One start-up it is a full screen weather map, another day it is my portfolio balances. (You give whatpage something like 5 or 10 start pages, and it gives them back randomly. My home is set to “″ only not really 1234)

Ano March 14, 2013 at 11:53 am

netvibes is pretty good

ourboldhero March 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

I’m heavily reliant on RSS feeds and I’ve been using Netvibes for a few years now, after trying a lot of different RSS readers. It’s pretty great: a web-based RSS reader with tabs, a few different viewing options, and widgets for email, weather, jotting down notes, etc. Does occasionally freak out and think everything in a feed is unread, but otherwise no complaints.

Ashok Rao March 13, 2013 at 11:16 pm seems interesting.

Holden March 14, 2013 at 1:52 am

Completely agree – looking into it; I like the privacy aspects as well! Just a heads up, the keyboard shortcuts don’t match 100% with Google Reader, if you use them (e for email is gone, f for full screen is ‘forward to Pocket reader’).

Anon. March 14, 2013 at 5:26 am

If only it would let me import my subscriptions…I tried feedly but it’s way too flashy.

john personna March 14, 2013 at 11:16 am

I’m using feedly in “one line summary” mode this morning, and moving through my reads very quickly. I like it.

Patrick Byrne March 14, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I have just found feedly too and it does seem good. theoldreader seems to have been brought to its knees by the today’s events.

Wish there was a way to set to titles view globally, though….

misterxroboto March 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm

It will.

If you use Google Takeout to download your data, you can import it into TheOldReader.

Basically, click this link: and you’ll be able to save your Google feed architecture. You can then import those subscriptions and preferences into TheOldReader when you log in. It will take a while at first because they’re backed up at the moment (sudden influx of people).

Chuck Ross March 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Does Bing have a reader? Seems like a good way to get people to make the switch.

Miraj Patel March 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm

I like this list/explanation of alternatives:

I’ve been using FeedDemon for some time now and highly recommend it if a desktop app is enough for you- functionality/look is great.

Matt March 14, 2013 at 8:47 am

Sadly FeedDemon is done (or at least greatly reduced capabilities) on July 1st, according to the developers blog.

Michael W. Kruse March 13, 2013 at 11:41 pm
Lauren March 13, 2013 at 11:52 pm

I’m a big feedly user, but the closing of Google Reader may just be the tipping point that leads me once and for all to

The feature I like most about Feed A Fever is its ability to prioritize stories in your unread count by importance.

HAL March 13, 2013 at 11:52 pm

They killed google reader about two years ago when they uprooted the whole thing to try and force us into plus.

I had an entire community of sharp friends who would read and share a broad variety of articles with witty notes and commentary.

I guess we were all supposed to ditch that and start +1ing everything we wanted to share and follow eachother’s +1s instead, like some 12-year-old chimps on facebook.

Fuck you, google.

PG March 14, 2013 at 6:28 am


Omeu March 14, 2013 at 8:51 am


Jordan March 14, 2013 at 9:07 am


Michael March 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I can’t decide if this is ironic or not. On the fence.

Socially Extinct March 13, 2013 at 11:56 pm

I was very disheartened by this news. Feed Demon was great “back in the day,” but I lost my license key a long time ago and really, it’s ludicrous to pay for such a thing now. I’ll need to check out Lauren’s suggestion.

David March 14, 2013 at 2:14 am

You don’t have to pay for it if you’re willing to put up with an ad in the corner of your screen. Either way, I think it’s still the best Windows-based RSS reading application available right now. If you’re on Windows 8, there’s also NextGen Reader, which is one of the new Metro/Modern apps. It, like most RSS apps, syncs with Google Reader right now, but the developer is very active and has already committed to making it Google-free in the future.

Some other suggestions (which are at various points of development) I’ve seen for Google Reader replacements are, in no particular order:

Peter March 14, 2013 at 12:01 am

@Tyler –

You can use feedly, It used to be powered by Google Reader, but it’s transitioning to its own system. @Lauren, feedly should still work for you if you decide not to switch. :)

nazgulnarsil March 14, 2013 at 12:06 am

Whichever RSS reader can parse the XML file that google reader exports will get my use.

Anyone know of one?

Holden March 14, 2013 at 1:53 am

At least The Old Reader does (and preserves folder/heirarchy). Not sure about the others.

eric March 14, 2013 at 10:01 am

try feedly – migration from google reader is a snap.

elcapitan March 14, 2013 at 11:09 am

All the ones I’ve tried so far do except The Old Reader (and that should be able to import subscriptions natively once the load on its servers lifts).

8 March 14, 2013 at 12:10 am

I used blogger to make a site that is all RSS feeds. It is like a giant WSJ frontpage, with a small intro from every post. Works well for desktop.

Ken Byrd March 14, 2013 at 12:16 am

My use of Google Reader plummeted with the new version. Now I simply follow the blogs and authors on Twitter. Of course, there are downsides (major lack of organization, not all new posts are tweeted) and I realize it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. However, the link exchange is fantastic, and there is no more opening up GR to hundreds of unread articles that I will never have time to read. I find that using fewer platforms for my news and interests has actually increased the diversity and quantity of the material I read.

Aaron March 14, 2013 at 12:25 am

Very disappointed to get word of G-Reader’s demise, as I am a heavy user. For now, I’ve switched over to the Brief plugin for Firefox, which appears to work fine for normal reading but doesn’t appear to have the Facebook/Twitter/Email connectedness of G-Reader.

Mike March 14, 2013 at 12:38 am

I’m happy with Bloglines. Am sure there are others with more bells and whistles, but for my basic purposes it works fine. I like that there are no sidebars or any other wasted screen space.

jb March 14, 2013 at 11:00 am

+1 for Bloglines. It went away once, and I switched to Google Reader, but I didn’t like Google Reader as much.

WD March 14, 2013 at 11:33 am

I forgot Bloglines after I switched to G Reader. Hacker News comments had a lot of posts on Newsblur. I’m curious to learn if newsblur will survive the flood of G Readers migrating and crashing their servers. Funny how I will pay for a good RSS aggregator…

Walter Underwood March 14, 2013 at 12:50 am

Google Reader has always been lame. I’ve been a NetNewsWire user for nearly a decade. The browser is not the web.

Also, Atom over RSS, every time.

matt March 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Can someone explain the functional difference between the two. I’ve looked it up before and could never tell why I should have a preference.

Isaac March 14, 2013 at 12:50 am

Newsblur is an option although it looks like his servers are getting hammered right now. Might want to check it out in a day or 2. Lots of things suddenly being promised. Looks like there will be a service built on top of before too long as well as from the folks at feedly. I’m looking forward to what happens when competition is restored.

Kevin S. March 14, 2013 at 3:56 am

If Newsblur becomes really popular, it’ll be interesting to see if that affects the readership of some blogs as some people try to cut down to 64 feeds to avoid the subscription costs. The overwhelming assault on Newsblur’s servers seems to be evidence that it’s a popular replacement for Google Reader emigres.

TimH March 14, 2013 at 12:57 am

I’m really broken-hearted at Google Reader’s demise, it’s by far the site I spend the most time on.

I do disagree that sties that post less frequently will be hurt the most: I can remember to check sites that frequently update because I’ll “miss” them. Sites that DON’T update frequently, even ones I really enjoy reading, though, are the ones on the bubble.

JVM March 14, 2013 at 1:06 am

Several apps plan to seamlessly transition users’ Google Readers to their own servers.


The hacker news people seem to love Newsblur but, echoing @Isaac, its servers are not doing so hot right now.

Jimmy March 14, 2013 at 1:07 am

It would be interesting to see if blogs, coming to similar conclusions you have, start ramping up the frequency and quality of their posts as we get closer to the July 1st deadline.

k March 14, 2013 at 1:30 am

For Apple Imac/mac book User : Vienna is very efficient RSS reader.

Maclen March 14, 2013 at 2:26 am

Don’t know if anybody has mentioned this, but Google has an app called “Google Currents” for the tablet, which is similar to google reader (though with more frills)

Richard March 14, 2013 at 3:07 am

Just pulled up Google currents on my Nexus 7. My Google Reader. feeds had already been identified and where sitting there waiting for me to hit subscribe

Other Richard March 14, 2013 at 7:39 am

Pity that it doesn’t have a desktop version. That’s another of Google’s trends that I dislike – abandoning desktop users in favour of restricting access to their apps through mobile devices.

Peter B March 14, 2013 at 3:27 am

Another vote for – I’ve been using it now for about 6-7 years now, and whenever I had a look at any other rss-reader I just could not understand why anybody uses anything else than nv. Google reader and anything similar looks very primitive compared to it.

Anonymous March 14, 2013 at 3:48 am

And here I was thinking that RSS feeds are the predominant way of following news/blogs today and then Google discontinues its reader because of the lack of users. How do people who don’t use RSS read their blogs? Do they just visit every blog separately every day to check if there are updates?

Kevin S. March 14, 2013 at 3:59 am

I think a lot of people left Google Reader when it eliminated social features and replaced the Like function with a +1 button for Google Plus–the project that not only failed to kill Facebook, but also screwed the rest of the Google empire in a desperate search for users.

Vanya March 14, 2013 at 4:54 am

Do they just visit every blog separately every day to check if there are updates?

Of course. That’s what I do, and most people I know. But not every day. An RSS feed sounds like an encouragement to waste time to me. If I have some time I browse the web and check out some blogs. If I don’t have time I don’t need things being pushed on me.

Matt March 14, 2013 at 5:02 am

Yes – I hate it when stores post regular hours as well. I’d much prefer just to stop by and see if they are open. Knowing when I can come by to buy stuff just feels like an encouragement to waste time to me.

Seriously – if you’re the type to be addicted to Reader, you’re going to be the type that’s going to waste the extra time checking blogs manually. Better to find other ways to stop yourself from being distracted.

NK March 14, 2013 at 5:56 am

They aren’t being “pushed” anywhere, they are *pulled* IF you read them.

Google Reader: good riddance, I’ve always wanted to leave it but never wanted to invest the effort.
Maybe this is a good chance to buy a Raspberry Pi and put all these services on my own device… No need for AdBlock and privacy precautions either.

Ed March 14, 2013 at 7:07 am

“How do people who don’t use RSS read their blogs? Do they just visit every blog separately every day to check if there are updates?”

Yes. Its not that difficult. I basically have one or maybe two times a day when I check blogs. During that time, I just work my way down the bookmark list, though more recently I’ve been keeping which blogs I want to check in my head and either searching for them or typing in the addresses manually, except in one or two cases where one blog I go to regularly is on the blogroll of another blog I go to regularly. I actually thought this is how must people did this.

Probably the keys to this is to keep the number of blogs you visit regularly to under twenty, change the list infrequently, and have one or two times a day where you sit down and look at the internet instead of constantly checking. I don’t carry a PDA either. When I’m working, it seems to always be in offices that restrict internet usage (one reason I’m a MR reader is that it is the only “fun” site that seems to consistently get through the firewalls at my workplaces). When I’m not working, my wife is pretty adament that I spend my time with her instead of online.

This also means managing the list and kicking off blogs that seem to be dead (haven’t updated in like forever) or have gone off the rails. Most blog seem to have natural lifespans. But I have seen blogs come back to life after not updating for months, and more rarely blogs that go off the rails right themselves. Also, checking a blog daily that updates infrequently is not that hard, you just take a minute to go to the site and then move on. Stuff that updates really often I make a point of visiting daily, but will usually skim, especially if time is short.

Richard March 14, 2013 at 7:37 am

I’m sorry but that process is just too inefficient for some of us. Opening up each site is how I used to do things, and then Google Reader/RSS aggregation in general allowed me to condense my reading time by half while still read all the sites. Before, I used to waste so much time going to sites that didn’t have updates. Now, I have about 100 feeds listed, with new posts updated in almost real time. Of course I don’t read all of the unread ones on every site, but Greader allows me to efficiently check for *updates* from all the ones I do follow religiously, scan others for interesting topics, search through them all for research on a topic, and view recent posts from a site in a very space-efficient format. Basically Greader is the raw content of each site/blog condensed in an archival format for streamlined and fast paced reading.

I can’t say I’m a fan of Larry Page’s “new more wood behind fewer arrows” strategy. There are many tools with a devoted following of highly educated/skilled journalists, techies, and evangelists who are wedded to the Google infrastructure for the whole range of apps and tools present. Removing one of these ties that bind is just making it easier at the margins for people to wiggle out of the Googlesphere for good. I remember having similar feelings when Google discontinued Google Desktop, iGoogle, and Bookmarks. No doubt they were not that heavily used by most people, but removing them is one fewer Google service that I am bound by.

Andrew' March 14, 2013 at 8:06 am

Why doesn’t Google facilitate migration? Do I need to send them my “hey guys, these are computers” angry e-mail?

roo March 14, 2013 at 8:56 am

I’ve been using for a couple of years now and have come to much prefer it to browser-based rss readers.

Brad March 14, 2013 at 9:03 am

If you use the Flipboard app (tablet, smartphone), they are saving all your google reader RSS feeds automatically so there shouldn’t be a disruption

Tim A March 14, 2013 at 9:35 am

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry (PEG) is clearly in the “big loser” category, as the last remaining inhabitant of the once-great The American Scene (TAS) group blog. TAS has been a part in my Google Reader since the beginning, before Ross Douthat left for the Atlantic (and then the NYT) and Reihan Salam was a franchise upon himself.

TAS today sits empty for months on end, until PEG posts something that wouldn’t fit within his day-job environment at Forbes. I feel a tinge of excitement when I see TAS magically appear with an “unread post” in my feed, and PEG never disappoints. And these rare posts often burst across the blogosphere, though they would be invisible if not for latent RSS visibility.

Other rare-posters I love, who are visible only due to RSS, include Michael Kinsley, Julian Sanchez, Stanley Fish, Ron Unz, and Francis Fukuyama.

The culprit behind this evil decision is clearly Andrew Sullivan, whose business model is completely undermined by the existence of Google Reader. I spend nearly as much time reading items from his Dish blog as all other blogs combined, yet never visit his site. Without RSS, I would have to actually pay the $20 to subscribe to read his extended posts.

Edwin Perello March 14, 2013 at 9:52 am

I have actually moved on from Google Reader, although only partially. I primarily use Feedly, which is available on browsers and as mobile apps. It uses Google Reader as a foundation but as the links below explain, especially the second one, they will be developing a new backbone using Google’s API which will remain intact in order to keep the service running.

People should have been moving away from Google Reader in the last year or two after Google made it clear it needed to change or shut it down. There’s nowhere near enough profit from it and charging users would end up with too many leaving for free services which provide comparable results.

August March 14, 2013 at 9:58 am

Can any of these suggestions take 730 feeds without choking?
What about the ‘all items’ ‘river of news’ way Reader can deliver?
Every time I go looking at other readers I get disappointed with how much I have to click in order to read

adam March 14, 2013 at 9:58 am

It’s got to be true that today is the wrong date to switch to a new RSS reader. The announcement of google’s withdrawal must portend a wave of innovation in the space. You should ask your question in June when a zillion new and improved products are competing for your attention.

F. Lynx Pardinus March 14, 2013 at 10:48 am

That’s what I’m thinking as well. I’m going to keep on using GReader for now, and check back in May-ish on the state of the competitors.

Without a RSS reader, I suspect the number of times I read posts on sites like Marginal Revolution would shrink from “a few times a week” to “not unless one of the big sites like the Economist links here.” Which is a shame.

Lord March 14, 2013 at 11:00 am

I really like browser integration because I can easily go from reading a post to reading the rest, comments, and commenting. I disliked Feedly enough that I stopped using it for this reason. I realize they haven’t been able to monetize it directly, but they do so indirectly whenever I do bring up the site so this is more a measurement problem than real problem. One other issue is I may drop gmail and chrome usage as well since this is my main usage for them. I would say Tyler is right on for how I would change I would probably revert to direct site visits but less frequently, many fewer, and only those with lots of posts. I would check less active sites but probably less than once a month. The idea that tablet apps are going to displace it is someone’s marketing fantasy. They are fine for commercial news outlets, but irrelevant for most of what I read. One alternative may be the growth of aggregator sites that repost many infrequent sites to build up one that posts very frequently. That is a site that could garner use, but they are much less convenient since you would typically have to visit the linked sites to read anything.

August March 14, 2013 at 12:07 pm


I’ve actually been wondering how much would it cost to fund something. RSS, email, the browser, and spaced repetition software. It could all just show up in a Reader like ‘river of news’ (and the little navigation tree on the left) With a spaced repetition thing in the background so I could put stuff I want to remember in the flashcard queue, which could also just show up whenever it is time for it to in the same stream. The browser is just there for when I’ve got to click a link.
I’ve already seen the limits of Anki by pushing the number of cards up to 5000, and most local readers suffer a similar fate if you push the feeds too high. And why can’t they keep stuff for offline use? I think the problem may be database related. By combining these things, I see a chance for improved learning, but what people seem to be trying to give us is this frivolous ‘social’ existence. I don’t want to live in that low information density world- not now that I’ve seen the potential.

rf7777 March 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Newsblur is down for the count!

niko March 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Feedly is pretty good. Here are some tips for making it look like google reader:

L. H. Kevil March 14, 2013 at 12:58 pm
Cory March 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I use Microsoft Outlook. It works well, but feeds are stored locally, so my work machine has a different set then my home machine or I will have to sync the two. It is a bit of a hassle but has the unexpected benefit of adding some churn to my collection of feeds as each location I read at has a slightly different set. Some of my really old computers have entire blogs that I haven’t read for a year, which is a always a pleasent suprise when it happens.

Moggio March 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm
Eric J. March 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I’ve always used the Sage extension for Firefox. It’s really the only thing that keeps me from moving to Chrome. Combined with X-Marks, and you can sync all of your desktop browsers, though mobile still gets the short end of the stick.

Jacob AG March 14, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned Tiny Tiny RSS. It’s obscure, but from what I’ve read Google Reader refugees love it. See

Jacob AG March 14, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Digg is developing an alternative, but it won’t be available until later this year:

Jacob AG March 15, 2013 at 12:45 am

I tried Sage for Firefox. It is way too similar to a bookmarks organizer for me. I click on a folder, and nothing happen. I have to navigate through the folder(s) to the feed I want to read, which isn’t bolded when unread (it’s always the same), and click on the feed I want to read (and somehow know has unread items in it…), at which point something like a magazine pops up, with boxes with a post in each. It’s like a magazine and a folder full of bookmarks had a baby. Also as Eric mentioned, there is no mobile version.

Kwan March 15, 2013 at 12:48 am

I used feedafever (and chill pill) for a while but switched to feedly and haven’t looked back since. The ranking system never worked particularly well for me with feedafever, and feedly seems to have gotten it right with their top news page. There are also dedicated iPhone and iPad apps that are both pretty much perfect.

Spencer March 15, 2013 at 1:28 am

I just wrote a post about my top choices for a reader replacement: The Old Reader is in the number 1 spot:

R March 15, 2013 at 10:04 am

I’d say Feedly is better than the Old Reader since it integrates stars/favourites (not just feeds), and has app versions for both iOS and Android.

Jacob AG March 16, 2013 at 12:14 am

After trying many alternatives (yes, including The Old Reader and Feedly, and I think they are both shoddy products) I have settled on RSSOwl… for now.

RSSOwl is a desktop app that runs on both PC and Mac, and is most similar to FeedDemon. It needs some fine-tuning in the Preferences section before it’s really usable like Google Reader was, but that doesn’t take too long (10-15 minutes to get it right, including testing). I suggest you go with the “List” view, and “Sort by Author.”

Ideally I would prefer a browser-based reader for aesthetic purposes and for convenience, but a desktop app has the now-indispensable advantage of being usable even if the company that makes it decides to discontinue it. Browser-based apps seem waayyy too risky now.

I am also in the middle of De-Googling everything else, too. I have read defenders of Google’s decision to scrap Reader argue that other services are safe, but all those claims are qualified with iffy-sounding words like “probably,” and even they admit that certain Google services (e.g. Voice, and Orkut of course) are at high risk of being discontinued.

So I have scrapped Google Calendar and Google Tasks, Google Reader is toast of course, I have switched from Chrome to Opera/Firefox (haven’t decided which I like better, but for now it’s Opera), Gmail is still an issue (suggestions welcome), I’m stuck with the Android phone until my next upgrade in July (it will be an iPhone), and there’s not much I can do about YouTube but at least I don’t value my account there.

Mark Thomson March 16, 2013 at 12:19 am

I’ve always used Thunderbird to read my rss feeds, which for me is convenient since that’s how I read me email. Yes it stores everything locally so it’s not so easy to migrate to a different machine, but that’s the trade-off for not being dependent on someone else’s business model.

Mark Thomson March 16, 2013 at 12:20 am

I’ve always used Thunderbird to read my rss feeds, which for me is convenient since that’s how I read my email. Yes it stores everything locally so it’s not so easy to migrate to a different machine, but that’s the trade-off for not being dependent on someone else’s business model.

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