Join 3,437 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Google Reader replacement?
May 12, 2013 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Google Reader is going away soon. What should I replace it with? Specific requirements inside.

  1. Import existing feeds from Google Reader.
  2. Import starred items from Google Reader.
  3. Web interface that works with Firefox on Windows and Linux.
  4. Keyboard navigation on web interface that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next (not just titles).
  5. Android app that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next.
  6. iPad app.
  7. Offline storage on Android and iPad apps.
  8. Ability to star/flag items for future follow-up.
  9. Folder organization of feeds.
  10. Export to Pocket.
  11. Easy subscription of feeds from Firefox.
  12. Would prefer something free but am willing to pay money.
  13. Easy sharing of items via email/Facebook/Twitter/Google+.
There was a flurry of posts about Reader replacements when Google first announced they were pulling the plug, including an Ask MetaFilter post, "Recommended replacements for Google Reader?" I figured that after a couple of months some of the dust will have settled, new services may have been developed, and people would know which services can handle the increased load of Reader refugees.
posted by grouse to Computers & Internet (38 answers total) 84 users marked this as a favorite
 
Honestly, I'm not sure if it fits all your requirements, but I just replaced Reader with Feedly.

http://www.feedly.com/

It certainly imports existing feeds from Reader, definitely works with Firefox on Windows, the app works beautifully on the iPad, has folder support, easiest subscription I've ever seen, is free and you can easily share to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, though I'm unsure about the others. At worst, it meets about half of your requirements and likely most of them. I'm still new to it, but I'm really enjoying it.
posted by juliebug at 12:48 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


It does seem like Feedly has come out ahead as the foremost likely replacement for a lot of people, myself included. They've been very good about updating features quickly to please the Google Reader refugees, so almost everything you're asking for is now available. I am not crazy about the visual style of the Android app, but it works.

At the moment, AFAIK, it still just pulls your feeds from Google, but at the beginning of this situation they said they would have a replacement scheme in place before July. Haven't heard any more about that, but I sure hope that's still in the plans.
posted by briank at 1:01 PM on May 12, 2013


Obviously mileage varies, but I found feedly clunky and difficult to read in the extreme.

The Old Reader is explicitly designed to be a copy of Google Reader pre-removal of most of the social features.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:09 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the great answers! If you are suggesting a replacement and you know it doesn't meet some of the requirements above it would be very helpful to know which ones if you don't mind adding that. Thank you!
posted by grouse at 1:15 PM on May 12, 2013


I don't use the majority of the features you require, but for what it's worth, I would vote against Newsblur (if that's an option you are considering). I spent about a month trying to get used to it - and purchased a year subscription - and I just couldn't. I really don't like the interface, and I just could not adjust to it. A couple days ago, I switched to The Old Reader, and it's great - very intuitive and easy to use. I haven't tried Feedly but I don't feel the need to at the moment.
posted by insectosaurus at 1:41 PM on May 12, 2013


The Old Reader does most of what you want, but can be slow and unavailable at times. To your requirements:

yep — Import existing feeds from Google Reader.
dunno (are these even exportable from reader?) — Import starred items from Google Reader.
yep — Web interface that works with Firefox on Windows and Linux.
yep — Keyboard navigation on web interface that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next (not just titles).
nope — Android app that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next.
nope — iPad app.
nope — Offline storage on Android and iPad apps.
yep — Ability to star/flag items for future follow-up.
dunno — Folder organization of feeds.
yep — Export to Pocket.
yep — Easy subscription of feeds from Firefox.
free — Would prefer something free but am willing to pay money.
yep — Easy sharing of items via email/Facebook/Twitter/Google+.
posted by scruss at 1:47 PM on May 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm using newsblur & it's decent, although the keyboard navigation "locks up" frequently on my. Bear in mine, I have about 900 feeds, so maybe it's just with the number of subscriptions I have. I'll click "view all sites stories" to view every new item, then type "J" to jump to the next ones. After about 10 "J"s it will stop working and I have to hit the "next new item" button on the page 2 or 3 times. Then "J" will work again for about 10 jumps. This is in the latest Chrome on a mac- I haven't bothered to go digging to see if it's a JS error or something although I would suspect that it is.

dunno (are these even exportable from reader?) — Import starred items from Google Reader.
Yes. they are in the output from Google Takeout

Anyway, for newsblur:

Import existing feeds from Google Reader. - yes
Import starred items from Google Reader. - didn't try this
Web interface that works with Firefox on Windows and Linux. - works fine on chrome & i don't see anything that would keep it from working on linux
Keyboard navigation on web interface that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next (not just titles). - yes, J/K work fine
Android app that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next. - has an android app. haven't tried it yet on my phone
iPad app. - i think it might, but I'm an android user so I haven't really looked
Offline storage on Android and iPad apps. - this one I don't think it has
Ability to star/flag items for future follow-up. - you can "save" an item, and share it. haven't played much with either option yet.
Folder organization of feeds.- yes, your google reader folders will import with your feeds still organized in them
Export to Pocket. - no idea of this one
Easy subscription of feeds from Firefox. - seems ok. I click the "+" icon on the reader page, throw in the subscription. unlike google reader you can immediately assign it to a folder.
Would prefer something free but am willing to pay money.
Easy sharing of items via email/Facebook/Twitter/Google+. - when you share a story there appears to be a twitter/facebook choice. personally I don't miss a G+ share, I'm convinced they killed reader because they're trying to get people to try G+, so I am pretty much boycotting it.
posted by lyra4 at 2:41 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just went from Feedly to InoReader that does import starred items. The old reader does NOT do this nor do they have any future plans to add this from reading the forums. Sorry, have only used InoReader on Chrome but it works beautifully both on Windows and Android. I had a couple issues/requests and the developer was really quick to help out and fix things. No separate apps at all.
posted by Ferrari328 at 2:49 PM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've tried both feedly and old reader and I prefer feedly. I don't know about pocket or offline storage, but I think it does everything else on your list. Feedly does automatically import your starred items.
posted by Lame_username at 2:51 PM on May 12, 2013


I tried Feedly a while back and disliked the UI (I don't want clickable images for each story and I couldn't find a way to just list the unread items for one particular feed).

The biggest show stopper for me was that it insisted on a Firefox plugin to work. In a locked down corporate environment, that just wasn't going to work.

They may have resolved these issues, I'm not sure.

I've got my hopes up for Digg's reader because, frankly, the alternatives haven't impressed me at all so far.
posted by mr_silver at 2:56 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


disliked the UI

Feedly does have a few UI options now, and at least one is just text. Mine only shows me unread items, I assumed it imported that preference from Reader, but now that sounds a little unlikely. Anyway, i didn't set it myself. The plugin thing, yeah, its still that way. I use the chrome app.
posted by donnagirl at 6:14 PM on May 12, 2013


Here is a good article that discusses a few alternatives. It might be best to wait to see what else comes out in the next month. That would still give you a head start.

Edit: I just saw this and thought it might be helpful too.
posted by Silvertree at 6:25 PM on May 12, 2013


Previously (blue), previously (green).
posted by devinemissk at 6:34 PM on May 12, 2013


I use beyond pod's rss feed as an app. It is the closet to my UI for reader. I just love the side by side UI of Google reader where I can have all my RSS on the left (e.g. CNN Money, WSJ money etc.) and all feeds per RSS on the right (all the news from each RSS).

However Beyondpod does not let me see both of these in the same UI which is annoying. Let me know if others have a side by side UI view of RSS+feeds from each.
posted by pakora1 at 7:02 PM on May 12, 2013


Feedly doesn't have an export facility, so while I'm otherwise reasonably happy with it, I'm scared that if it ever goes away my feeds will be lost. I'm probably going to avoid it until that's fixed.

There's an iOS app called "Mr. Reader" that I like so far, and it claims it will support alternative storage backends by the time Google Reader disappears. So if you find something that's perfect except that it doesn't have an iOS app, there may be a solution there.
posted by vasi at 7:16 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


David Pogue, of the NY Times, recommends Feedly. He says "Feedly is feverishly working to address these limitations; it takes the mantle of Reader Successor seriously. Indeed, some of the best features have been added very recently, in an effort to accommodate Reader refugees."
posted by WestCoaster at 8:43 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I use Feedly with Chrome, so I don't think it's FF-only any longer. Also, I love it. The layout is great looking.
posted by Miko at 8:53 PM on May 12, 2013


I'm using netvibes and I find its OK (though annoyingly ask metafilter posts sometimes appear in the feed 2 or 3 times each).

I used this guide and it worked well for me.
posted by Admira at 12:10 AM on May 13, 2013


I followed Ferrari328's advice and tried Inoreader.

[+] It imported my 1555 GR feeds (I'm a heavy reader..) with only ~10 errors
[+] It's fast. With keyboard shortcuts.
[+] It's clean (no default magazine layout like feedly)
[+] It can import (OPML or GReader) ánd export subscriptions
[+] It integrates with pocket and has a few nice, optional social features
[+] There's a bookmarklet for quick subscribing, it can also use the RSS Subscription Extension in Chrome
[+] There's a (semi-)functional SEARCH
[+] Auto push (filtered) feeds to pocket seems like a nice new feature
[+] feed statistics & crawler information

[-] Folders can only be displayed alphabeticaly. Ah well, user ordered folders were a mess anyway; I just added a 2 digit prefix to my important folders.
[-] No "Sort by magic" for the article order. Seriously, a bit of magic, how hard can it be?
[-] NO TAG SUPPORT, just folders. I really liked tags.
[-] No sync with Google Reader (I think), because after importing my feeds, the unread numbers are sky-high. I don't care though, I'm switched. And this probably means it's Google Reader independent?

[?] I have no idea what the mobile options are, but you can push selected articles and/or selected (folder) feeds to pocket (or instapaper) which is all I need on mobile anyway.

I have tried quite a few alternatives and none came this close.

[-] Hold on, just noticed A FEED CAN ONLY BE IN ONE FOLDER (?).. this could be a dealbraker, I'll mail the developer.
posted by Akeem at 4:03 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Akeem,
manually reordering feeds in Inoreader will be out in a few weeks, don't know if the same is true for folders.
posted by Ferrari328 at 5:30 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Developer got back to me (very responsive indeed):
He confirms he's not using a shared backend with any other services.
He'll try to cure the folder issue and is working on tag-support. This would solve most of the above-mentioned downsides.

Well that's settled then. Inoreader it is. I may re-import my feeds when the folder issue is solved and/or when tag-support is added; but I'm starting to use Inoreader and I'm not going back.
Inoreader webapp (there's a changelog in the menu)
Announcing Inoreader Google Group
Updates on Facebook
Where's the donate button?
posted by Akeem at 5:51 AM on May 13, 2013


So, I'll try to answer as a new Inoreader user:

Yep - Import existing feeds from Google Reader.
Yep - Import starred items from Google Reader.
Yep - Web interface that works with Firefox on Windows and Linux.
Yep - Keyboard navigation on web interface that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next (not just titles).
Nope, only mobile version, no app - Android app that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next.
Nope, only mobile version, no app - iPad app.
Nope, only through Pocket (&Instapaper) - Offline storage on Android and iPad apps.
Yep - Ability to star/flag items for future follow-up.
Yep (currently only one folder per feed) - Folder organization of feeds.
Yep - Export to Pocket.
Yep (bookmarklet) - Easy subscription of feeds from Firefox.
Yep (free) - Would prefer something free but am willing to pay money.
Yep (in addition, "Auto Push") - Easy sharing of items via email/Facebook/Twitter/Google+.
posted by Akeem at 6:15 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I settled for a self-hosted instance of Tiny Tiny RSS. After using it for two months I'm very happy about it. The installation and setup took only a few hours, the user experience is very similar to Google Reader.

Here is your list of requirements:

[+] Import existing feeds from Google Reader.

[*] Import starred items from Google Reader. I know it's possible, but I didn't try it.

[*] Web interface that works with Firefox on Windows and Linux. Didn't try it on Linux

[+] Leopard navigation on web interface that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next (not just titles).

[+] Android app that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next.

[*] iPad app. It exists, but I didn't try it.

[*] Offline storage on Android and iPad apps. It definitely exists on Android, but I didn't try it.

[+] Ability to star/flag items for future follow-up.

[+] Folder organization of feeds.

[*] Export to Pocket. The plugin exists, but I didn't try it.

[+] Easy subscription of feeds from Firefox.

[+] Would prefer something free but am willing to pay money. The web part is free, the native Android client is $1.99

[*] Easy sharing of items via email/Facebook/Twitter/Google+. Multiple sharing options available, I only tried G+
posted by ringu0 at 9:12 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've started trying Feedly on my iPhone. It seems better than The Old Reader, but both are much slower than Google Reader (will this be the thing that gets me to buy a new phone for 4G?). I don't need the pretty formatting of either alternative; just want info to go between Twitter and my reads of favious blogs when I'm sitting down.

Why is Google doing this? I would actually pay for Google Reader.
posted by NiceParisParamus at 12:11 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Feedbin is by far the best replacement I've found.
posted by newtux at 1:29 PM on May 13, 2013


There seems to be a three (or so) hour delay for content to show up in Inoreader. In contrast, The Old Reader and Google Reader seem to be just a few minutes out of date. Inoreader looks great and the functionality seems to be what I need ( aside from the delay ) so I'll probably check back in a few weeks to see if this is fixed. For now, I'm using The Old Reader.
posted by metadave at 2:54 PM on May 13, 2013


I've paid for and been using Fever for a few years now. It's a self-hosted feed aggregator - so you'll need your own web space, database & domain to install it - but as far as installs of such things go it's pretty painless. One less dependency on some startup service that's only an aqui-hire away from disappearing!

There's no social in the way that Reader used to do years ago, but I don't really miss that. Twitter does that now (kind of).

Downsides: well, not everyone loves Fever's web interface (though I like it); and on many hundreds of feeds it may slow down a bit (though maybe that was my overly throttled web host).

For me it is perfect. The icing is that iOS's Reeder (iPhone version only) is also a client, so I can have my news while on the bus etc etc.
posted by Taliano at 3:28 PM on May 13, 2013


I'm nthing Feedly. It's a little different, but it's pretty and they're working hard to make it happy for those of us used to Google Reader. Hell, I even like some of their craaaaazy image-driven formats better for certain sites, and the reader remembers my preferences.
posted by desuetude at 10:53 PM on May 13, 2013


So I tried Inoreader, and it seems pretty good...except that the mobile mode is awful on tablets. Desktop mode kinda works on my iPad, but is very very slow. Hopefully it will eventually provide an API that existing mobile clients can use.
posted by vasi at 9:10 AM on May 14, 2013


I tried a number of alternatives and ended up using Tiny Tiny RSS. I'm very happy with it thus far.
posted by Proginoskes at 9:47 AM on May 14, 2013


I've been running an instance of Fever on my domain the past fortnight, and have already made the decision to move on to Fever full time. Its integration with Reeder (currently iPhone only, not iPad.. yet..) has made the transition from reader to fever almost* painless.

As for your requirements:

1. Import existing feeds from Google Reader. - Yes, really simple and (from what I could see) no issue
2. Import starred items from Google Reader - No (correct me if I am wrong fevers)
3. Web interface that works with Firefox on Windows and Linux - Yes - Tested fine from Windows & OS X, Firefox & Chrome
3. Keyboard navigation on web interface that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next (not just titles) - Yes
4. Android app that allows quickly moving from one whole article to the next - No Android native app, but mobile web app is ok
5. iPad app - No - There *is* support for Reeder on the iPhone, I imagine an iPad app is in the works...
6. Offline storage on Android and iPad apps No - iPhone only for now (see above) - but Reeder is absolutely stunning for offline reading. Love love love it. I think Reeder is the reason I'm still using Google Reader after this many years.
7. Ability to star/flag items for future follow-up Yes "Saved" articles are stored in a seperate little folder
8. Folder organization of feeds Yes
9. Export to Pocket. Kindof Fever natively doesn't do it, but the Reeder iPhone app is way ahead of you
10. Easy subscription of feeds from Firefox Yes Simple, and amazingly reliable, bookmarket that you push on a website, it automagically finds the RSS feeds available on the site, and lets you pick which (or all) of them you want to subscribe to. Like a really, really, tailored version fo the Google Chrome RSS finder. Love it.
11. Would prefer something free but am willing to pay money USD$30.00. So far totally worth every penny, as I don't anticipate missing GReader - last month I assumed my internet was going to collapse.
12. Easy sharing of items via email/Facebook/Twitter/Google+ Yes - comes with default shortcuts to instapaper, twitter, delicious, but these can be changed based on your needs.

* Pains include:
1. No support for Fever from Reeder iPad app, just the iPhone app
2. The Web app is good - but not Google Reader good. Whilst the j &k buttons work just fine for skipping through articles, they don't show more than the article headline without clicking with the mouse, so this slows down the consumption process a little.
3. Having to host it yourself (this can be considered a pain, or a win.. so far, not being hacked or concerned by the added 'server load', this is a win)
4. Slower feed refreshes. Google did this for us all in the background, but with Fever the RSS feed refresh becomes an activity I'm conscious of. Takes about a minute to go through the 200 or so feeds I subscribe to.
posted by channey at 2:21 PM on May 14, 2013


So I guess I'm the only person who did this, but I switched to email using Blogtrottr. I filter all my feeds into an RSS-only folder. I'm using GMail but will switch to just mutt or some other self-hosted solution eventually. The only feature this doesn't cover is importing starred items.

Switching to email helped me realize that RSS isn't about the client, and that making it about the client is ridiculous. If GMail shut down would I expect to lose my data or change the way I do things? No, I'd just move somewhere else and it would be just fine.

Here are some features that are common in mail clients:
- Track read/unread
- Folders arranged however you want
- Starred items
- Easy sharing
- Clients on every platform (offline storage standard)
- Easy to move from one item to another

None of these are implemented for the purpose of RSS reading, but there's so much overlap why bother having a separate, subtly different application?

Blogtrottr has a bookmarklet that makes it easy to subscribe to feeds, and it also will turn RSS into digests for you (so high volume, low value feeds can be aggregated). There are actually a lot of services that will mail you RSS feeds - IFTTT will do it and it's not even that hard to write your own scraper if you code at all.

You get a lot of stuff for free with this that you won't find in any dedicated RSS client. There's a mail interface for basically every taste, crazy sorting algorithms if you want them, all the power of mail filtering (so if you like one blog except for articles on X, well, it's easy to filter), and the perfect multi-device support are great. You've also decoupled your storage and frontend options - if you don't like your email client, get a new one and just tell it your mail server. You don't even have to copy data anywhere.

Losing Reader felt bad, but cutting down on the number of interfaces I used and getting more power in the bargain makes me think it was for the best.
posted by 23 at 7:14 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wish there was a paid hosted Fever. Or a better interface for FeedHQ or a useful Old Reader, for 3rd party client sync and all.
posted by amar at 7:42 AM on May 18, 2013


Thanks everyone! I made a Google Spreadsheet that summarizes some of the information provided here. Looks like I will start by trying out InoReader.
posted by grouse at 10:13 AM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


There is a current MeFi thread that you may want to check out.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:36 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I tried InoReader and it was as close to a replacement for the web version of Google Reader as I could reasonably want (down to incredibly easy import of both subscriptions and starred items from Google Reader). The main problem was slow updates compared to Google Reader. This is mitigated since you can manually refresh feeds. And it seems to be a problem for any of the centrally hosted replacements. InoReader also has developers who are responsive and seem dedicated, for now.

The performance of Old Reader and Newsblur seemed to be the same or worse than InoReader and I didn't like the interface as much. I didn't want to install a plugin for Feedly (and its utility after Google Reader finally goes away remains to be demonstrated), or maintain Tiny Tiny RSS or Fever myself. I wasn't enticed to try Beyondpod, NetVibes, or Feedbin.

For now I am going to continue using Google Reader until they kick me out, then start using the InoReader account using my imported Google Reader data.
posted by grouse at 12:46 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Feedly now has a web based reader, and I've now replaced netvibes with it and I'm very happy.
posted by Admira at 12:03 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


vasi: "Feedly doesn't have an export facility, so while I'm otherwise reasonably happy with it, I'm scared that if it ever goes away my feeds will be lost. I'm probably going to avoid it until that's fixed."

It's fixed! This link allows you to export your feedly feeds.
posted by vasi at 7:38 AM on July 18, 2013


« Older I've had a lot of jobs, but no...   |  I have found myself in possess... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.