The ultimate Google Reader alternatives list

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 14, 2013
Updated • Mar 14, 2013

When you ask around which online RSS reader Internet users make use of, it is almost certain that Google Reader will be mentioned quite often. That is despite the fact that Google did not really improve the product in recent time. This neglect fueled rumors that Google would eventually close down the product and lo and behold, the company just announced that this is going to happen soon.

According to the official company blog, Google Reader will be turned off on July 1, 2013.  Google's reason for that is that usage has declined over the years.

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 reader shutdown

With Google Reader shutting down, what are some of the options that you have to continue reading and managing RSS feeds on the Internet?

The first thing that you should do is export your feed list. You can do so using Google Takeout which will not only get you your list of subscriptions in xml format, but also other related data.

Online RSS readers

These products can be accessed on an Internet site. They often offer apps as well that you can use on your mobile devices.

Netvibes is more of an iGoogle alternative than it is a feed reader even though you can use it for that just fine once you realize that you can switch to reader view mode in the application easily. It is a long standing service with lots of customization options.

Newsblur has been designed as a Google Reader alternative and while it certainly looks and feels that way, it needs to be said that it is only really usable if you pay for the service. Free users get access to 64 feeds with ten posts each, and if you want more, you need to pay $1 per month to do so. Lots of Google Reader users appear to be switching, judging from the real-time stats posted on the site.

Ipad, iPhone and Android apps are available.


The Old Reader is a bare bones RSS reader that displays the feeds you subscribed to in a stream of posts or titles. It supports keyboard shortcuts and the like and has a social aspect that lets you share items easily.

RSS Miner is a super fast minimalistic reader that you can import your Google Reader subscriptions to directly. The interface may take some getting used to time though. The contents of the sidebar change when you click on a news item. It switches between the list of folders and feeds you are subscribed to, and the news listing of a selected feed or folder.

Protopage is a lot like Netvibes. You add feeds to pages that you can then read with a single click that is taking you to the website the news were posted on. The service checks each news item that you have read that way. I'd prefer an option to read the news items on the Protopage website instead, as the loading of third party websites in a new tab is breaking the flow big time.

Noteworthy as well is FeedFiend, a service that is currently in beta. It is a bit bare bones right now but maybe that is something that some users are looking for.

Feederator is another web-based service that lets you read RSS feeds online. It lacks a proper import option right now which makes it difficult to get your list of feeds over from Google Reader.

Browser-based Readers

These readers integrate directly in your web browser of choice.

Feedly is a popular application for browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome, as well as mobile iOS or Android devices. It integrates directly with Google Reader which is great as it will import your Google Reader items into Feedly so that you can continue reading RSS news using the product. The team has created a list of tips for Google Reader users migrating to Feedly.

RSS Feed Reader for Google Chrome handles news right in Chrome's main toolbar. It displays the number of new items in the icon, and will display all feeds you are subscribed to when you click on that icon. It is best suited for low to medium sized feed lists due to space constraints.

Firefox users can check out Sage or Brief instead which add a similar functionality to the web browser.

Opera users can use the built-in functionality to import RSS feeds into their browser, no need for an extension.

Desktop Readers

If you want to read news in a desktop program, try the following suggestions.

Great News is my feed reader of choice. While it is not really developed anymore, it is offering me quick access to all of my feeds. The reader has a few quirks and bugs but nothing too serious. I like its minimalistic design, that you can read the news right in the program, and think it provides you with a great overview of all new items.


RSS Owl is a Java-based desktop reader that is working quite well. I used it for a while but switched to Great News since I did not want to run Java anymore on my system. It is a fast lightweight reader that can sync your feeds with Google Reader. Being Java-based also means that it is available for Windows, Linux and Mac systems.

Feed Demon is unfortunately not an alternative anymore as it is being shut down by its developer. Update: Feed Demon can still be used beyond July 1, 2013 if Google Reader synchronization is turned off by removing the Google account under Tools > Options > Synchronization Options.

Your own hosted solution

If you have access to a web server, you can host your own RSS reader solution on it.

Tiny Tiny RSS is one of the options that you have in this regard. It requires a dedicated web server with PHP 5.3.0+ and PostgreSQL or MySQL database.

Feedafever is another self-hosted application requiring PHP and MySQL. It is a paid application that you need to purchase to make use of.

Selfoss is a full featured RSS reader that you run on your own web server. It too requires PHP 5.2.4 or higher, MySQL and Apache to run.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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