In my last post I lamented the demise of Google Reader which will cease to exist as of July 1 of this year. There will certainly be a void to fill now that this invaluable tool will no longer be available and it will be interesting to see the shifts on the landscape and see who surfaces as the go-to service. In this post I will offer some alternatives to Google Reader which up to this point has been the most popular one.
Readers are used by internet professionals, bloggers, and avid consumers of web news. They basically aggregate content into one place so it’s easier to keep track of blogs and stay organized. There’s a variety of readers out there that function as a way to collect and organize blogs after subscribing to an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The orange icons you see on most blogs, podcasts, and some websites is a link to subscribe to that particular site’s RSS feed.
Whenever you’re on a blog you want to revisit easily, you click the button and get directed to the feed so you can subscribe to it. Posts from these subscriptions are then aggregated and directed into your own reader for easy access. It’s a convenient way to have such a system in order to retrieve information and receive it when it happens. Although average users of the mainstream internet population may not even be aware of RSS and Readers, using one has many advantages.
Some advantages to utilizing a reader are you can keep up with your competition by subscribing to their feeds and stay informed of what news they are disseminating. Also you may choose to monitor more advanced professionals than yourself as a learning technique. This keeps you in the know and saves time because it isn’t necessary to go to every site one at a time, not to mention the timely nature in which the information arrives.
Readers also help you remember the blogs you like; this might not sound necessary, but after visiting a lot of blogs it’s easy for some to get lost in the shuffle. Another advantage is you’re able to absorb more information faster, you can actually increase the rate at which you learn and gather content. I do a lot of web surfing and searching the old fashioned way, this is how we discover great sites to begin with, but, using a reader makes sense and is a great way to save time and keep that competitive edge.
Top Ten FREE Alternatives to Google Reader
1. www.Feedly.com Feed your mind, says Feedly, …with your digital world. Feedly far and away seems to be leading the pack as the reader of choice for web news junkies. Half a million Google Reader subscribers have already switched over. Feedly is a free resource and it works with iPhone, iPad, Android, and desktop platforms. They offer multiple layouts and an up to date interface that integrates well with social activity and news gathering needs.
2. www.TheOldReader.com Still in beta, The Old Reader proves to be a solid no frills reader that gets the job done. It is the preferred reader of many users for this very reason. You can start using it in an instant by signing up through Facebook or Google Plus, which tells me social integration is a priority and more features will ensue. No mobile integration yet, but that is around the corner too, according to their homepage it’s in the works.
3. www.Pulse.me Pulse has a streamline interface great for accessing media, blogs, web sites and social networks. This Stanford contribution to the reader space was founded in 2010 and has won several design awards. Apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and the web make Pulse an enjoyable reader experience.
4. www.Netvibes.com/en Netvibes offers a personal dashboard system on user friendly drag-and-drop desktop and mobile platforms. Individuals can monitor feeds and apps or agencies can monitor their brand activity. They have social tools for real-time monitoring, digital organization, news gathering, and brand research. They’ve helped some major brands and have impressive upgrades like detailed analytics, business insights, and alerts.
5. www.Bloglines.com Bloglines is one of the first news feed aggregators and has over two million users. You can access your RSS on desktop or mobile while creating, managing and sharing your favorite news feeds, blogs and content from the internet. Feeds can be customized and arranged in a variety of ways to meet your needs.
6. www.FeedReader.com FeedReader is the oldest desktop RSS reader on the web, so with their “Newsbrain” technology they’ve had time to adjust to user’s needs. It is a basic service, but not too much so. There are plenty upgrades and features as well as online and downloadable versions to meet the demands of most. Definitely worth a look see.
7. www.RSSOwl.org RSSOwl can be used on major platforms like Windows, Linux, and Mac. Add feeds to RSSOwl with ease by using its Import Wizard; select feeds from a file, web site, or let RSSOwl search feeds that match topics you choose. Features and versatility make this reader a strong option for keeping track of feeds and news.
8. WordPress.com/#!/read WordPress launched a reader about a year and a half ago under its dot com version. Using desktop or mobile you can import from GR and subscribe and organize feeds regardless of their origin, as long as you create a dot com account. Many say it’s not compact enough or there’s too much space per entry, which concerns those who quickly scan a river of titles to get info fast. Knowing WordPress there will likely be tweaks and adjustments in light of the open top reader spot; either way it is an option and it’s winning over many fans.
9. My.Yahoo.com MyYahoo! makes the list because Yahoo is still a relevant source for web interaction and cannot be counted out as an online leader. No doubt they have experienced major shifts in the last few years but who hasn’t. I’ve always been a fan of their homepage, products, email, and Answers; so I believe interesting things are ahead.
10. www.newsisfree.com NewsIsFree is another straight forward, raw-no-slaw system for subscribing to and managing your RSS feeds. They have a huge data base, 35949 news channels of their own to be exact, as of this writing. Basic Free Service lets you add feeds from within or add new ones they don’t have to your customizable portal.
Other Google Reader Alternatives
agregator.ro Agregator (beta)
Readers for Mac
Readers for Mobile
In summary it is important to note that this shift in the reader landscape is causing all kinds of speculation as to the fate of RSS and if readers will be all that relevant in the future or not. As mentioned in my last post, Social already has the lion share of internet users’ attention so it is likely more sophisticated features will evolve that act as news aggregators or ‘catchalls’ for our most important content. Some of them already have such features, like Twitter Lists.
It is also fair to say most people only need one reader. Social networks each have their own unique uses which is why we tend to have accounts at many different ones. Up to now readers serve a specific purpose so having only one usually suffices. However, as outlined above, many of the readers are adding lots of features, tools, and upgrades of benefit to both individuals and organizations. It will be interesting to watch as readers become more social and social networks develop more tools like readers. So with that I will end by restating my top five readers.
Top Five Free Alternatives to Google Reader
2. The Old Reader
5. (tie) Bloglines and FeedReader