The Sunday Salon: Last Call for Google Reader Alternatives

The blogging world has been different since March 14, when Google announced that they were going to retire Google Reader on July 1st. In that post, Google claims that usage has declined since the service was released in 2005. The general idea, apparently, is that people are using social media, Twitter and Facebook in particular, to track blogs instead, making RSS readers the equivalent of a last-generation console, thus the death of Google Reader.

As a blogger who relies heavily on RSS feeds to organize her information output, I was a bit blindsided by the announcement. My response? Ignore it until the last week of June. I jumped ship yesterday, but today’s the last day. With that in mind, I thought I’d share the system I’m now working with and highlight some other alternatives now that Google Reader is dead.

I never used Google Reader directly; rather, I used it as a way to sync between NetNewsWire, my desktop RSS reader, and Byline, my iOS RSS reader, using Pocket to tag anything I needed to check back at my desk. (NetNewsWire used to have an iPhone app, but it vanished from the US App Store before I set up shop.) I set up that a little before I traveled to Ireland in 2011, because the idea of facing two weeks’ worth of backlog on NetNewsWire was more than I could bear. Being able to sync between my computer and my phone allows me to manage information in bite-sized portions. It’s absolutely crucial to not only the life processes of this blog, but also the way I interact with the online world.

Thus, my greatest concern in finding an alternative was finding something that could sync. Since I was happy with NetNewsWire and Byline, I decided to wait until both responded to the impending death of Google Reader. NetNewsWire 4 entered open beta this week; the completed NetNewsWire 4 of the (hopefully) near future will not only boast syncing, it’ll also cost twenty bucks. Meanwhile, Byline updated on Thursday to sync with Feedly instead of Google Reader.

Feedly Logo

While I hemmed and hawed doing research yesterday morning, I ultimately decided to go with Feedly. The service is welcoming former Google Reader users with open arms: there’s literally a button on the website that gets you set-up with a single click. This does mean that you need to give Feedly access to your Google account. You don’t get a separate Feedly account, it’s all through Google. That’s not a problem for me, but since you can only delete your Feedly “account” by e-mailing staff, I think it’s best to know beforehand.

While Feedly is a web app instead of a desktop app, my feeds do need to be in the cloud to some capacity for syncing to occur. Still, I did turn Feedly into a desktop “app” (it’s really a dedicated browser) using the incredibly useful Fluid. This app is Mac-only; Mozilla’s now defunct Prism served the same purpose for the Windows, and I am told that you can create something similar with Google Chrome. While you do need to go to Preferences > Advanced and select “Allow browsing to any URL” to log in while using the Fluid instance, turning that off right after allows you to open links to articles directly in your browser of choice. If I upgraded Fluid, I’m sure there’s a userscript out there that could get the little unread articles badge on my dock.

【Feedly】post Google Reader iOS App

While Byline now supports Feedly, I thought I might as well go for the prettier Feedly iOS app (even if I did pay for Byline). I’m still trying to find my sweet spot in terms of swiping, but it works, and that’s the important part.

I do recommend switching to Feedly, because it’s painless, well-designed, and comes with its own dedicated iOS and Android mobile apps. And it’s free. I don’t do anything more robust than reading my RSS feeds, so I don’t have terribly specific needs when it comes to my RSS reader. Other free web options include Digg Reader, AOL Reader, Newsvibe, and the Old Reader. This Techspot article covers some paid options. But don’t take too long to jump ship—your deadline is midnight, my little blogging Cinderellas.

I got my ticket for Denver this week. I still can’t believe that I’m actually going to go to the Denver Publishing Institute, in both good and bad ways. In the next week and a half, I will read and review up a storm, so programming will be uninterrupted here on the blog. We’ll see how that goes!

This week’s links:

If you used Google Reader, what’s your fix?

18 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Last Call for Google Reader Alternatives

  1. I have decided to switch to Feedly too. It seems to work fine, really. Does not mean I am not still frustrated about the fact that Google decided to stop supporting reader. Still think the argument used was ridiculous.

  2. Excellent links – I’m not through all of them yet, but loving the ones I’ve read so far. And I’m a Feedly user too. The cloud system actually nailed it for me, though I like your thoughts on turning it into a desktop reader.

  3. I have to say I’ve never used RSS. I tried to sign up for it in the past but it didn’t work. I have just signed up to bloglovin as recommended by Google and I use G+.

  4. I am also using Feedly, though at the moment I really hate the Android app. Or maybe I’m just not using it correctly– I can’t get it to sync properly with the desktop version. Argh.

  5. I barely did any research – Feedly looked like the easiest transition so I went for it, soon after the Google Reader announcement. Thanks for the links to the Schrodinger’s Rapist article and also to the MST3K article. A middle school science teacher was the first to introduce me to MST3K – I mostly use youtube to watch episodes now. My favorites are The Screaming Skull, Timechasers and Future War. I also really like Touch of Satan.

    • Yeah, Feedly’s taking some getting used to for me, but at least it’s simple.

      You’re quite welcome!

      Timechasers is a classic, but my favorite has to be The Quest of the Delta Knights. I love awful fantasy movies, so it was great. “A sweet Delta lady am I, am I…”

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