J.Kirchartz Web Yinzer

RIP Google Reader

Google unceremoniously killed Reader. It was fun while it lasted, but you knew it was going to happen. I’ve been using Reader to keep up with my feeds for a long time; sometimes ignore them for weeks, but still skimiming for the best. The closure was hardly the hardest part. That respect does to when Google originally decided to start damaging Reader with a redesign in late 2011. This redesign brought in the new Google black bar, and partially replaced the social aspect with Google Plus. Up until then you could share articles with your friends, if they actually wanted to see them. It was great for discovering things from new perspectives, and for trading the best feeds to follow But G+ never really filled the gap. It was a separate entity and integration into Reader went out the window with this announcement. Google Plus won’t be filling in any other gaps either.

The major losses here are in China & Iran where it was being used to circumvent oppressive regime’s policies, so I can hardly compare my plight.

So now to fill this new hole in my life, there were a few solutions offered as replacements that I tried.

  • Pulse

    It’s ok, you can only import reader feeds from the app, not the website, which forced me to make some room on my phone. Sadly I had to add each feed individually to new or existing pages, I couldn’t just reuse the folders from Reader. And that’s where I found my other problem, you can only have so many feeds on a page; Resulting in pages like “Dev2” and “Dev3”. The interface here expects an image to give you the title over, and each feed is given it’s own line and only shows a few articles each. I just want one feed where I can see it all, and this isn’t it. It’d be great if all your content had a descriptive picture, unfortunely most of what I read doesn’t. If you love Windows 8 Metro, you’ll like Pulse.

  • Prismatic

    You can connect your Reader account here by signing up or signing in with Google. However that’s not quite obvious, and is more of a lucky happenstance for connecting your Google account. Unfortunately again you have to add your interests or favorite sites manually. Prismatic isn’t an RSS reader, it’s an article suggestion tool, based on interests in your feed. The social ascpect is cool, and there’s always a ton of interesting content, but this isn’t a feed reader.

  • Feedly & Feedspot

    Two very good Reader clones. Keyboard shortcuts are similar, and other features are too. Customizable views, they even have one like Reader’s compact view, which is my favorite. This is nearly a drop-in replacement for Google Reader, and it imports your feeds automatically.

  • Digg Reader & Yoleo

    Keyboard shortcuts, side panel with a list of folders and subscriptions. The only real difference is layout, Yoleo has a right side-bar that contains a different view on your feed data. Neither of them had more features than that or anything truly unique. They were both very similar to Feedly, easy to connect your reader data, but ultimately reader clones.

Feedly & Feedspot clearly come out on top for being drop-in replacements, although Digg reader is a close second, because their styling is nice and open, making it a joy to read.

Ultimately though I’m becoming disenfranchised with RSS feeds. They just pile up too much, and all serve the mentality of “you can’t miss a thing.” I’m generally “behind” by at least 1000 posts, but I’d guestimate at least 90% of them aren’t worth actually looking at twice. There’s got to be a better way, but for now I’m not seeing a ready-made product that combats this pile-up.

update I still don’t pay too much attention to reading every post from every feed, but I’ve been enjoying Feedly and have been using at part of my “Firehose Technique” for internetting, which I plan to explain in an upcoming post

another update 2 years after posting this, Feedly is clearly the winner; although Feedspot constantly emails me offers about it’s premium offerings I haven’t bothered taking them up on any…