We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.
Google and I are no longer on speaking terms after this decision. If I was and we were, I might bitterly retort "usage declined because of your 2011 decision to remove all social aspects of the app in a (failed!) nudge towards Google+." This was designed to go away.
There had been rumors of this happening for months, and it was clear Google had long stopped working on improving the application, but I always thought it'd just be rolled into Google+ somehow, not shuttered completely.
Google Reader is a kind of a techy thing, and kind of something you might only be into if you were into reading articles from a lot of different sites in 2005 or whenever Twitter or Facebook supplanted it for aggregation for most people. RSS itself seems like it's getting pushed out - you have to work to get RSS feeds for Twitter or Facebook - but an RSS Reader is much better at collection and holding on to links you want to read, instead of just being lost in the stream.
Lifehacker has a list of alternatives. NewsBlur sounds like what I'd want, but they're overloaded by the traffic of people looking to for a solution right now. At least we have a few months.
I finally got newsblur to work...to find out it only will track 12 feeds for free. I apparently have 410! (Half of them dead, I'm sure, but still.) There's a premium option for unlimited feeds, but they've raised the price of it now. Their claim is they did as a deterrent - they can't handle the flood of new years and want to discourage people from signing up until they catch back up, but apparently not so much that they won't be happy still taking your money in the meantime.
The current premium cost, $24, is not crazy and I wouldn't flinch at paying it to keep Google Reader going, but if the price might be dropping later and they're having service problems right now, maybe I should keep looking.
Just kicking this open to remind people the shut down is only a couple weeks away and mention what I've done. Maybe you've got a solution too?
It really took me until last week to commit to moving of Reader - actualy less wanting to stick with the website, more than 20-40 things I'm never going to read but always think I might and being uncertain how to port them over. I ended up going with NewsBlur as mentioned before.
Positives! - the web interface is very pretty. There were some BeautifyReader scripts I had used in the past which added color, but this is a step beyond that. It's possible to set up feeds to load the actual post, instead of the feed text, which actually might get me to resubscribe to some header only feeds I've given up.
- the web interface can work a lot like the Google Reader interface, though you'll have to do some customization of keyboard shortcuts and the setups of each feed.
- It's very obviously in active development. Problems are getting worked on and the product is getting improved (a great improvement from Google Reader.)
- the Android and iOS apps apparently just went thru a big refresh, but still have some bugs. The Android app seemed to be stuck refreshing for a long period of time (though it's not happened since I switched phones, so it may be an old OS issue) and there's no way to mark stories unread. You could mark them as Saved, then mark them unread when you get back to the web app. The iOS app was crashing a crazy amount on me when I used it Saturday. It wasn't possible for me to use the standard web interface on a mobile device - you're really stuck with the app.
- It feels like some feeds are updating less or not updating correctly as they had in Google Reader. Each feed does list how often it updates and you can force updates. Reader didn't update some feeds frequently and didn't let you know, so maybe this is just me finding out the exact number.
- you have to pay $24/year if you'd like more than 60 feeds. Which again is good because it means there's development going on, and an actual business plan instead of just a site and some hope. But $0 to $24 is a going to be a problem for a lot of people. (And it appears to just be one guy doing anything, so you may be out of luck if that guy is no longer doing the site.)
- there's a lot of sharing stuff and commenting stuff that might work if I had any friends
- NewsBlur had downtime/outage problems when the Google Reader shut down first was announced and people tried out the site. It's grown a lot, but it's going to get crushed again just before and after the shut down. But that's going to be the case for every alternative, and it'd be a smart move to get yourself out of Google Reader by the end of the week before the mass exodus.
I think NewsBlur is a safe option. It may turn out in a year that one of the free alternatives would work better for me, but I have greater confidence this is going to last a year than anything else. There are nuisances to me, but some seem to be worked on, some I'll get used to, and some are probably just bad Google Reader habits I ought to be breaking anyway.
To follow up on Cubs's previous post, Digg will be rolling out its new reader on June 26.
That's kind of where I've been leaning, but to combine that with Cubs' new post...
But that's going to be the case for every alternative, and it'd be a smart move to get yourself out of Google Reader by the end of the week before the mass exodus.
Hmm... June 26 + mass exodus screams huge problems.
Is Feedly a website as well as an app? I want a website a lot more than an app. I've also had stashed in my email this tweet regarding making Feedly look like Google Reader in case anybody else wants it.
I am why James is crying.
Go Pack Go! Owner of one (1) share. Let's Go Riders! Owner of one (1) share.
I ended up going to Netvibes, which in reader mode is close enough to Google Reader that I was okay with it. Took a little while to figure out how to make it work, but I'm happy with it for my rss purposes (which are to remind me when sites I care about get updated, and there really aren't that many).
I'm still on Google Reader and am planning to make my decision at the last minute. I don't understand why so many people jumped to a new service right away when (a) there were still months before Google Reader would shut down, (b) it was obvious that big changes were coming to most of the well known alternatives, and (c) some new alternatives would be coming out.
I want one solution that syncs between the browser (without a browser-based app) for PC reading and iOS apps for phone/tablet reading. This should not be that hard; unfortunately, I'm stuck on junky old IE8 at work and neither Feedly nor NewsBlur want to work with it. I also read something on NewsBlur that your unread articles will be marked as read after 14 days. This could be wrong or it could have changed, but the idea itself is alarming.
Originally posted by KJames199 I also read something on NewsBlur that your unread articles will be marked as read after 14 days. This could be wrong or it could have changed, but the idea itself is alarming.
This is correct. There's a suggestion they might get to the 30 day mark Google Reader used to do, but it's not a priority.