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