Recommended replacements for Google Reader?
March 13, 2013 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Google Reader is being retired in a few months. What web services (or conceivably software) would you recommend as a replacement?
posted by shenderson to Computers & Internet (48 answers total) 214 users marked this as a favorite
NewsBlur is a good option to check out. I note their site appears to be down, probably due to this news. If they go under, you can run it yourself.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:39 PM on March 13, 2013 [13 favorites]

Per Newsblur's Twitter account, you can try out Newsblur a bit at their dev site. It's not currently down... as of this writing.
posted by RyanAdams at 4:43 PM on March 13, 2013

I also use newsblur.
posted by dpx.mfx at 4:49 PM on March 13, 2013

I'm so surprised by this news. What google have gained in terms of not supporting Reader they must have lost 100fold in nerd cred.

Newsblur it is then.
Looks like the Dev site is down as well though.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:52 PM on March 13, 2013 [4 favorites]

I'm hearing about NewsBlur (mentioned above), and The Old Reader.
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 4:56 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I can't vouch for either, but on twitter I've seen feedly and The Old Reader recommended (the latter by mathowie.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:57 PM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Upon further viewing, feedly kind of sucks.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:02 PM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

There's also Fever, if you can host it yourself. It's not an exact replacement but it might be worth looking at.
posted by bcwinters at 5:05 PM on March 13, 2013

Lifehacker are on the case
posted by 0bvious at 5:12 PM on March 13, 2013 [5 favorites]

I read about the death of Google Reader in Google Reader. This is the first Google product-killing that makes absolutely no sense to me :(

I will have to give newsblur a look too, when their site is working.
posted by jozxyqk at 5:26 PM on March 13, 2013

Just a heads up, newsblur charges a very small amount for more than 64 feeds.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:32 PM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Netvibes seems to be under heavy load, but it's working at the moment.

The trick to making it work very similarly to Google Reader is create a dashboard and nuke all the widgets on it, then "Add content," select "Add a feed," click the "Import" link to bring in the XML (OPML) file that Google Takeout generates, import your subscriptions, and finally click the "Reader" icon (horizontal lines in a square at the top of the screen) to turn the whole thing into a Google Reader clone.

It has very similar keyboard shortcuts, etc. The sharing options seem awkward, but they exist and might have shortcuts--I dunno. They don't seem to be charging for this service at all, but I have a feeling that might change.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 5:36 PM on March 13, 2013 [13 favorites]

Create an IFTTT account. You can have it take an action every time an RSS feed is updated, where an action can be tweeting or sending you an email or saving the link in a service like Pocket or Pinboard.

If you're technical you can cut IFTTT out of the equation with cron and a simple script.

Fever is the only hosted solution I've seen people recommend on MeFi to day, but it's not free, it's PHP, and it has weird ideas about how to sort feeds that seem superfluous.
posted by 23 at 6:34 PM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

It looks like feedly has set it up so that "if you are a Google Reader, give feedly a try before July 1st, and you will be able to migrate seamlesly" (I guess they were eager to get that post up!)

Since I am a Google Reader, I am trying it now, but the site seems to be overloaded. It looks like this might be one of the easier alternatives, though.
posted by perryfugue at 6:39 PM on March 13, 2013

I don't use an rss reader anymore, although I did use Feedly until relatively recently, and found it rather good. Apparently they are waiting in the wings to solve the google reader problem. It's worth signing up, attaching your google account and at least you'll have a backup when it does go.

Personally I feel that rss is a bit clunky these days for website aggregation. Twitter, Facebook and my iPad do aggregation for me these days, much better than rss ever did. I use rss for other bits and pieces, but that's besides the point. Do you have a tablet? Flipboard can replace rss very well, and Zite is a superb way to discover new content. The more you use it the more useful it becomes.
posted by 0bvious at 6:46 PM on March 13, 2013

Just to underline something I missed earlier: You can host Newsblur yourself if you have the time and patience to get it set up.
posted by JDHarper at 7:11 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

bloglines is still around and not too bad, but can seem a little sluggish to update feeds at times.

I use FeedDemon and I'm pretty pleased with it, but am using with the express purpose of reading RSS feeds on my laptop only and to avoid the timesuck of all-blogs-all-the-time on my various mobile devices ... YMMV
posted by the.carol.baxter.experience at 7:32 PM on March 13, 2013

FeedDemon is not really an option any longer.
It's actually been in "sunset" status for a while now. This is just the thing that pushed Nick to officially give it up.
posted by Su at 8:14 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding Netvibes.

Just make sure you disable the crazy-ass "widgets" mode and put it in "reader" mode (toggle switch near the top of the screen).

I love the keyboard shortcuts (hint: hit '?' if you forget them).
posted by sarah_pdx at 10:27 PM on March 13, 2013

I have a webserver account for a couple sites, and they have "Softaculous" for e-z-installations - their RSS Reader choices are "Gregarius", "Feed On Feeds", "Simple Pie" and "selfoss", none of which I've ever heard of before (including on this thread or the Reader thread on the Blue).
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:00 AM on March 14, 2013

Boy, am I glad I didn't switch to Google Reader the last time a company decided to shut down a service I'd been using!

On topic: thirding Netvibes. You have to configure it to your liking, but then it works.
posted by gakiko at 12:18 AM on March 14, 2013

I've been using Flipboard as a Reader interface for a while now on my iPhone. It takes in other RSS sources as well. It may work as a replacement for some people.
posted by harriet vane at 1:33 AM on March 14, 2013

I had mostly abandoned my feeds because I wasn't thrilled with the Reader interface. A couple of months ago, I put Feedly on my phone, and I've actually started following them and adding new ones again. I see up thread that others don't like Feedly, so I guess it depends on your UI preferences.
posted by instamatic at 3:55 AM on March 14, 2013

The great things about Reader's interface are its total lack of any graphics and it's linear layout. I just want a line-by-line textual list of feeds in chronological order. It would seem to be much easier to do that than to create a graphically heavy and over designed app like Feedly. Newsblur looks closer to Reader's interface, hopefully they can get their servers working.
posted by octothorpe at 6:59 AM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you're using a Mac, Vienna looks pretty promising. Just spent 30 minutes manually copying all of my feeds into it, since the Google Takeout "feature" is a disaster. So far, I'm happy with it.
posted by jbickers at 7:11 AM on March 14, 2013

Trying The Old Reader but they are obviously having huge traffic problems at the moment. When you try to import
A/. They are having to limit imports because of overdemand
B/. Google refuses your login and sends you an email to reconfirm
posted by adamvasco at 7:11 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've been using Netvibes for years, and even though they added a Reader-like interface I still use the iGoogle-style format. It may take a bit of getting used to but I think it's hard to beat in terms of giving you a good overview of new stuff without missing older posts. Plus, their ability to do public-facing pages is pretty nice. (self-link to my page of econ blogs)
posted by ropeladder at 8:09 AM on March 14, 2013

I've been using Google Reader on my tablet via NewsRob, which is a great app for offline browsing. If anyone knows something similar (for Android) for one of these services, that would be great - I only read my RSS when I'm on the bus or train, and having articles and images cached for this is exactly why I like it.
posted by mippy at 8:17 AM on March 14, 2013

Bookmarks organized in Firefox folders. (I don't organize mine by time of day, as suggested in the link, though.)
posted by oliverburkeman at 8:43 AM on March 14, 2013

Another self-hosted option not covered above: Tiny Tiny RSS. No personal experience with it, and the demo site is temporarily down.
posted by RyanAdams at 8:48 AM on March 14, 2013

This isn't a recommendation per se, because it's far more hands-on than I want, but it might be right for some people: RSS Feed Masher. (It's made by one of my invisible friends.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:03 AM on March 14, 2013

Related reddit thread.
posted by bluecore at 9:28 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Got forwarded this today on FB, not sure about the source, but here's a fine crowdsourced Google doc with some Reader alternatives.
posted by monospace at 9:45 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here's one a guy's been working on in his spare time. I know, I know. Haven't poked around with anything but the demo feeds, but it looks decent. Found via the Reddit thread.

My guess is it might not last long under the crush of a lot of new subscribers, but it's worth checking out.
posted by sutt at 2:46 PM on March 14, 2013

As of now, standard Newsblur accounts are limited to 12 feeds, and premium accounts are $24 a year, up from $12 yesterday.

Curious about setting up my own, but that's not really filling me with confidence.
posted by almostmanda at 4:35 PM on March 14, 2013

I thought about this more and I think the solution to this is to just have your RSS articles emailed to you. The RSS reader interface is already very close to email, and email has solved the classification/sync problem for a while now.

Things I need in an RSS reader that are already in email:

- All articles in one place so I can just go through the list (inbox)
- Read/Unread state
- Ability to view a particular feed or category (folders/filters)
- Accessible on my phone, desktop, or wherever
- Search
- Star/favorites/tags
- Sharing

rss2email seems to be working but not really active any more. Flexget basically exists for downloading torrents from feeds, but since it's downloading RSS feeds and can send email already it's not hard to get it to just forward the articles.

I know people have been saying that nobody can set up a service to rival Google Reader because you need special infrastructure, but if you offload the search and archive functions to user's email clients then isn't that much more approachable?
posted by 23 at 12:23 AM on March 15, 2013

I'm giving netvibes and old reader trial runs. We have a bit more time with reader before the end, so hopefully one of them will suit my purposes.

This decision is really screwing with the way I use the internet.
posted by Julnyes at 1:46 PM on March 15, 2013

I saw Feedbin mentioned on the's Twitter the other day. Looks promising, even for $2/month, but I haven't tried it yet.
posted by aheckler at 4:04 PM on March 15, 2013

I spent an hour last night setting up Fever and I like it a lot. it's pretty slick and has a similar interface to Google Reader. The organization is better, and their 'temperature' thing is actually useful.

You keep your blogs into two categories - shit you actually read ('kindle') and high volume sites ('sparks'). When your blogs post about the same thing, sparks from your high volume sites push things from the blogs you actually read to the top of their 'hot topics' page. Pretty cool. Or you can just quickly scroll through a big list like in GR.

It seems pretty intensive (constantly polling all your RSS feeds) and I couldn't get it working on my cheap shared hosting account, I ended up installing it on the webserver on my network's NAS and having it auto-update with cron.

Worth the effort and $30 for sure if you have your own hosting option.
posted by bradbane at 6:54 PM on March 15, 2013

posted by amar at 5:14 AM on March 16, 2013

I have used NewsBlur before this announcement from Google but was never able to switch too it due to the interface. (And the learning system didn’t worked the way I wanted it too, this might have changed now though.) Right now I am concidering reviving my account as it is a genuinely good service and I don’t mind the price tag if that keeps it online.

It is interesting to see NetVibes mentioned a couple of times. Can any NetVibes user tell me how good their search is when you aren’t a premium user? The pricing page says search is only available for $499/month… A bit of a buzzkill.

Google Reader allowed people to search through every item that had ever been part of any feed from the time you subscribed. There are a lot of questions about how Feedly is going to handle search. They haven’t said anything about how far back their new Normandy server is going to keep RSS items either.

The Old Reader seems to be the only one to talk about this:
However, new posts will be fetched as they get published, and The Old Reader will store up to several hundred of posts per feed. We also store all shared, commented, or liked posts, however old they are.
These ‘several hundred of posts’ might not be enough though. According to my GReader Trends, the MetaFilter feed gets 33 new items every day. With TOR I wouldn’t be able to look back more than a month.

I’d like to add this as a additional question, as it is important to a part of GReader refugees: do any of these mentioned Google Reader replacements support searching through everything you read in your feeds?

I believe NewsBlur keeps complete archives of your feeds. But I can’t back that up with a link right now.
posted by Martijn at 7:57 AM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Old reader has now imported my meagre list of feeds. It took nearly two days due to the amount of traffic. I like the layout and it does what I want it to do.
They now have a status page which is a nice nod to the user or potential user. On friday their user base grew x 7 in 24 hrs so they are obviously having quite a challenging time.
posted by adamvasco at 9:53 AM on March 16, 2013

I use newsblur
posted by aramblankenship at 3:15 PM on March 16, 2013

I've been trying out NetVibes and like them okay so far. There doesn't seem to be any search on the free version. The interface is decent, though - a simple expandable list, with user-created folders on the left.
posted by echo target at 1:49 PM on March 18, 2013

Update - after trying to get The Old Reader to import my subs to no avail and the fact that Netvibes doesn't have the option to look at your feeds in chronological order (oldest first) - I decided to go with Feedly which has been working wonderfully for me as a Google Reader replacement.
posted by Julnyes at 8:22 AM on March 27, 2013

I'm going to have to check out the services listed here, but prior to reader, I was using a desktop app called FeedReader, which is still around. I'll have to install it and see if there are any notable new features, but last I checked you had to link directly to the RSS of the target pages.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 7:11 PM on April 12, 2013

Update: Here's a link to FeedReader. I just took my Google Reader generated XML file and fed it to the app after installation. It got everything. I'll provide updates as necessary.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:15 PM on April 15, 2013

I'd been using Feedly since the Reader announcement, but recently I switched to inoreader. It's very lightweight, clutter-free, highly configurable, integrates with Instapaper, and is just about perfect for my needs. Just one more option to check out for anyone who still isn't 100% satisfied with their Reader replacement.
posted by dialetheia at 11:27 PM on June 17, 2013

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