Last week Google took one of the most controversial decisions of the past couple of years: Google Reader service will be shut down as of July 1st, 2013.
Usually, most of the users don’t even care when Google decides to shut down some of its services, like it happened to Google Knol (a Wikipedia Rival) or Google Buzz (Google’s first rival for Facebook), but things are fundamentally different when it comes to Google Reader.
Launched in 2005, the service that allows the users to subscribe to various publications using an RSS feed have never excelled when it came to user interface and haven’t received too many changes over time, but it was appreciated by the users, because it allowed them to easily handle hundreds or even thousands of articles.
Used by those who were in search for news coming from different sources, it’s not surprising at all to see that many of them will be affected by Google’s decision to shut down Reader.
The biggest problem is that Google Reader is currently one of the few reliable solutions to receive RSS feeds, while many of the other similar apps are based on the full functionality of Google’s own service, most of them only offering a different user interface. FeedDemon or NetNewsWire are just a couple of them.
Therefore, it’s not a surprise that the users have serious troubles when it comes to finding an alternative to Google Reader. Anyway, there’s only a handful of worthy Google Reader alternative out there, so we will present you some of them, so you can have enough time to try them all until July 1st.
Feedly for Android
Feedly is currently considered one of the best alternatives for Google Reader. Even though it’s already capable of synchronizing the Google Reader feeds, the Feedly devs are already working on Feedly Normandy, a complete project, independent from Google’s service.
Feedly allows the user to view the RSS feeds in text format, in a way similar to Google Reader, looking rather like a digital magazine, in a way that somehow reminded me of Flipboard.
Still the main advantages of Feedly are features like “Save for Later” – allows the user to save an article in order to read it later, or History – which allows you to see what you’ve recently read on Feedly. Moreover, you can also share posts on Facebook and Twitter, compared to Google Reader which only had integration with Google Plus.
Feedly is available for free in Google Play Store.
Taptu for Android
Tapu is a less popular application, but after Google Reader will be shut down its popularity might increase. The Tapu user interface is not as elegant as the one of Feedly, but it’s intuitive and allows the user to display the posts in a pretty advanced graphical way.
Unfortunately, Taptu doesn’t allow you to see the posts in a list reminiscent of Google Reader, and in some cases the app loads pretty slow.
If you add a new feed you can simply search the website’s name in the search bar, or simply choose it from a list of suggestions made by Tapu, which are not necessarily the most interesting ones. Moreover, you can also integrate feeds from Facebook or Twitter, in order to have all the news in one unitary interface.
Just like Feedly, Taptu is available for free in Google Play Store.
Flipboard for Android
Flipboard is an app that needs not further introduction. It aggregates news articles from different web sites, looking like a digital magazine in which you can easily navigate with touch gestures. You can edit the categories for certain feeds just as easy and you can also add new feeds from which to receive news.
Moreover, the Flipboard app for Android allows you to stay in touch with the latest news on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, keeping you away from the native apps of the social networks.
The least pleasant part is that, because of the digital magazine look, Flipboard is a big mobile data eater, so using this on a 3G or 4G network might result in high data charges if not on an unlimited net subscription.
You can install Flipboard from Android by following this link.
Pulse News for Android
Pluse News is less interesting than Fliboard, but it works flawlessly, so it can be considered a good alternative for Google Reader. The News are displayed in boxes that can be edited by the user, and the navigation is pretty intuitive: in order to read the titles from the sites you have to swipe horizontally, and in order to see a new source you have to swipe vertically.
The Pulse app includes useful features like viewing the article in browser and reading an article in offline mode, and it also allows you to share your findings on Facebook or Twitter.
Pluse is available in Google Play Store, is freee, and it can be downloaded from here.
Google Currents for Android
It’s a little bit funny that one of the best Google Reader alternatives is an app that is developed by Google. Still, Google Currents, is pretty interesting to use and it also follows the digital magazine concept of Flipboard. Rather being a service that allows you to discover new websites using already existent feeds, Google Currents also allows you to add new RSS feeds.
Anyway, you shouldn’t get too enthusiastic about it: launched late 2011, Google Currents doesn’t have too many fans, so, it might as well become the victim of one of Google’s “spring cleanups.”
Here is the Google Play Store link for Google Currents.
How to export data from Google Reader
Let’s say that you’ve found a Google reader alternative in the list above. The next step is to import the feeds from Google Reader into the new application of your choice, and for this you will have to use the Google Takeout feature.
Once in Google Reader you must go to Reader settings > Import/Export > Download your data through Takeout > Create Archive > Download.
The Google Reader shutdown is sad news for many users (me including), especially that the alternatives are limited in numbers and quality.
Still, you can also look at the bright side: you will have to search for a new service that is at least as good as Google Reader and you may find it in a Fliboard-like application that will significantly change the way you are reading news on the internet.