Alternatives to Google Reader

Alternatives to Google Reader

I’m aware that many of my friends use Google Reader to subscribe to their favourite blogs, comics, and so on, so – if you’re among them – I thought I’d better make you aware of some of your alternatives. Google are dropping Google Reader on 1st July (here’s the announcement on the Google Reader blog), so it’s time to move on.

Google Reader

Ah; Google Reader. You were my RSS reader of choice for a long time, until you started fucking with the user interface the other year.

Getting your data out of Google Reader

The good news is that it’s pretty easy to get all of your feeds out of Google Reader, and import them into your new feed reader. You can export everything from your Reader account, but the most important thing in your export is probably the OPML file (called ‘subscriptions.xml’ in your download), which is what your new reader will use to give you the continuity that you’re looking for. OPML files describe a list of subscriptions: for example, this OPML file describes all of the blogs that used to feature on Abnib (when it worked reliably).

Choosing a new RSS reader

You’ve got a few different choices for your new RSS reader. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Tiny Tiny RSS - if you’re happy to host your own web-based RSS reader, and you’re enough of a geek to enjoy tweaking it the way that you want, then this tool is simply awesome. Install it on your server, configure it the way you want, and then access it via the web or the Android app. I’ve been using Tiny Tiny RSS for a few years, and I’ve made a few minor tweaks to add URL-shortening and sharing features: that’s what powers the “Dan is reading…” (subscribe) list in the sidebar of my blog. It’s also one of the few web-based RSS readers that offers feed authentication options, which is incredibly useful if you follow “friends only” blogs on LiveJournal or similar platforms.
  • NewsBlur – this is the closest thing you’ll find to a like-for-like replacement for Google Reader, and it’s actually really good: a slick, simple interface, apps for all of the major mobile platforms, and a damn smart tagging system. They’re a little swamped with Reader refugees right now, but you can work around the traffic by signing up and logging in at their alternative web address of dev.newsblur.com.
  • Feedly - or, if you’re happy to step away from the centralised, web-based reader solutions, here’s a great option: available as a browser plugin or a mobile app, it has the fringe benefit that you can use it to read your pre-cached subscriptions while you’re away from an Internet connection, if that’s a concern to you.
  • Blogtrottr - If you only subscribe to a handful of feeds, you might want to look at Blogtrottr: it’s an RSS-to-email service, so it delivers your favourite blogs right to your Inbox, which is great for those of you that use your Inbox as a to-do list (and pretty damn good if you set up some filters to put your RSS feeds into a suitable tag or folder, so that you can read them at your leisure).
  • Finally, don’t forget that if you’re using Opera as your primary web browser, that it has a great RSS reader baked right into it! As an Opera fan, I couldn’t help but plug that.

Or if you only care about my posts…

Of course, if mine’s the only blog you’re concerned with, you might like to follow me on Google+ on on Twitter: all of my blog posts get publicly pushed to both of those social networks as soon as they’re published, so if you’re a social network fiend, that’s probably the easiest answer for you!

Further reading:

Dan Q is a software engineer, a director of a voluntary organisation, a trainee counsellor, a keen geocacher, and an amateur magician. He lives with his partner and her husband in a polyamorous triad, and occasionally finds time to blog.