By Team ZRG / Delhi
Come July 1 and you won’t see Google Reader anymore. The Internet search engine giant had announced in March that it’ll be killing off the RSS (really simple syndication) feeds application in its ‘spring cleaning’ – a euphemism for getting rid of products getting lower usage or subscriptions. Apparently, the company wants to focus its energy into fewer products.
Launched in 2005, Google Reader made it easy for people including this writer to aggregate and organise RSS feeds on their favourite websites without having to visit each and every one. It is a handy tool for brining headlines and articles from various web sources into a single place.
Having spent a lot of time aggregating and organising those RSS feeds, it is actually painful to see the application die. But, the silver lining is that Google is facilitating to move a user’s list of sites to another service. And many of the rival services such as Feedly, Flipboard et al are reciprocating. Obviously, these applications are driven more by self-interest to have their share in the larger pie of feeds domain. While doing so, they face stiff completion from the likes of Twitter and Facebook which also provide facility to locate and share content.
As the July 1 countdown has begun, Zee Research Group took the opportunity to look at alternatives to Reader. Most of them are free. In fact, some like Feedly and Flipboard are better over Reader in many respects, yet the writer (a die-hard Reader fan) feels Reader should get an attention.
Here is a list of few top Google Reader alternatives:
Feedly – Developed and released by DevHD (formed in 2006) in 2008, Feedly is a news aggregator application for various web sources. More importantly, it is available on mobile devices running iOS and Android. To Feedly’s credit, it is already created the impression that it is Reader’s replacement. Not only, the application appears well organised, a user can easily import his/her Reader’s collection of RSS feeds or can add various content from varying genres ranging from news to lifestyle feeds. Feeds are displayed with a thumbnail to make it livelier. Content can be saved as well for later reading. In particular, the iPad application is sleek and aesthetically designed.
Flipboard – Produced by Flipboard Inc., – a US-based software company founded in 2010 by Mike McCue and Evan Doll and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, – the application was originally designed for the iPad. Flipboard has a focused approach on aggregating social media content and mobile, it presents those feeds in a magazine format and allows users to flip through them. Feeds can be received from partner websites (organised into categories).
Digg’s Reader – Still under development including mobile versions, Digg has made its presence felt with its social news site with the same name. Much similar to Feedly, Digg’s Reader takes the familiar Google Reader interface and has improvised it with added features like Instapaper sharing and Digg integration. The interesting feature is a filter which shows a user about trending topics in feeds. It looks promising.
NewsBlur – A desktop user will surely feel at home on NewsBlur. A user can see stories on the original site, organise and create categories, put tags on favourites. Popular as “Blurblog”, the application gives facility to create a blog entry of favourite stories for others to read. What reduces its appeal for a user from our part of the world is that it limits RSS feeds to 64 sites and provides paid access to unlimited feeds and updates.
The Old Reader – It was built when Google Reader closed its social features. A die-hard Reader fan will find it much similar to original simple reading experience.
Twitter – While the popular micro-blogging site is not an ideal replacement, tweets subscriptions from web sources can still allow a user to keep an eye on news and updates.