Reader rapture: what will be your salvation during Google shutdown?

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We have reached the end times for Google Reader and a mass of activity has been whipped up to provide people with alternatives to consume RSS feeds through.

My personal favourite is Newsblur. For people who only follow a few feeds Newsblur might be overkill. It has a number of features that make it ideal for my needs:

  • Migrating in is easy, Google Reader allows people to easily migrate. From other readers there is a standard format of file called OPML that allows you to move your feeds across in just one or two clicks
  • Feeds can be viewed in the reader in one of three formats that also allow you to see what the original page design is like. This is particularly handy from a PR perspective where position on the page can give a bit more context to coverage
  • Coverage can be shared via the Blurblog function and Newsblur supports
  • Newsblur has decent mobile clients
  • It is a paid-for model which isn’t reliant on advertising, if Google can’t flog advertising on an RSS reader product who can
  • It polls feeds much faster than other products that I have tried
  • Newsblur’s training feature helps filter out irrelevant content and highlight pertinent content, which is invaluable for PROs
  • Newsblur’s code is open source

Veteran Mac RSS reader NetNewsWire has been resurrected by Black Pixel and version four has a back-end that is independent of Google Reader. This was the first RSS reader that I used. I personally prefer Newsblur now, but it is good to see some of the innovation that has come out in the current open beta.

Feedly saw a surge in users when the news about Google Reader was initially announced. The media love its minimal look, but it can be too clever for its own good and hard to use. I personally found this didn’t work for the way I read and bookmark content. I have a similar view of Flipboard.

The Old Reader was designed by people who liked Google Reader just the way it was. Newsvibe has an even cleaner look than the old reader if that kind of thing floats your boat.

The wild card in the mix for me is AOL Reader. No that isn’t a typo, AOL: ‘You’ve got mail’ and the people who provided my Mum and Dad with the CDs that they hang from their apple trees to scare away birds from attacking the fruit has launched a decent looking RSS reader. It is web based but mobile and tablet friendly. Probably one of the biggest challenges would be finding a memorable AOL ID to use.

More information
The Old Reader
AOL Reader
Online Journalism list of RSS readers