After years of operation and tentative integration with Google+, Google Reader is finally shutting down on July 1st. As it does, competing reader apps must both fill the gap and wean themselves off one of the most popular back-end tools for managing feeds, while users scramble for a replacement. Will RSS survive the shutdown, or has social media made both it and Reader obsolete?
Jul 30, 2013
The Old Reader RSS app closes registration after months of 'hell'
Google Reader is long gone and while a handful of new alternatives have popped up over the last few months, one popular option is essentially closing up shop: The Old Reader. In a blog post, the team behind the RSS reading web app said that they are giving up development on the product because they're simply exhausted from building the product. As of Monday, the web app is no longer accepting new users. And in two weeks, The Old Reader will turn into a private site for those who've registered before March 13th. If you're an Old Reader user who signed up after March 13th, the time to pull your data and move over to another product is now — user data is available for export in OPML files.Read Article >
The Old Reader launched about a year ago after founders Anton Tolchanov, Elena Bulygina and Dmitry Krasnoukhov were unhappy with changes Google made to social and sharing features in Google Reader, according to The Washington Post. The Old Reader caught on and at one point had as many as 60,000 users sign up in a single day, the Ukrainian team said on its Facebook page. Currently, the app has about 420,000 users, the team said. Things were going well until March, when Google announced that it was going to kill Google Reader. Since then, the trio has gone from a normal life to one they described as "hell in every possible aspect we could imagine." Over the last five months "we have had no work life balance at all," the developers wrote. Such a sleep-deprived lifestyle just isn't sustainable "if you're running a project for hundreds of thousands of people," they said.
Jun 24, 2013
AOL Reader enters the RSS fray with a simple, fast app but few differentiating features
As Google prepares for Reader's ultimate shutdown, company after company has emerged from the woodwork to offer replacements for what was once the power user's de facto news reader. AOL was one of the most obvious candidates to launch an RSS reader, and the company has obliged with AOL Reader. It's an RSS app through and through, designed to be as simple as possible for Google Reader ex-pats to get used to — but it borrows from the best of the rest of its competition as well.Read Article >
Reader begins its life as a fast, simple website that looks quite a bit like Google's own app. It has dark and light themes, and though it's slightly busier than Google Reader it's certainly a more approachable design. Like seemingly every RSS reader, it's divided into columns: one on the left with nested folders of your site subscriptions, a big one in the center with whatever you're reading, and a tall ad on the right that currently prods you to make AOL.com your homepage.
Jun 3, 2013
Feedly emerges as key Google Reader replacement with support from Reeder, Press, and more
With the death of Google Reader under a month away, third-party RSS clients will soon need to find a replacement to Google's service. Feedly has been working hard to fill the void, and today it's announcing that it will integrate with the apps Reeder, Nextgen Reader, gReader, Press, and Newsify before the end of the month. To ease the transition for developers, Feedly has been turning its API into a clone of Reader's. It's also been working with those five apps' developers to make third-party integration even more robust.Read Article >
That should also make it easier for apps that aren't on that list to hook into Feedly as well. Because Reader was the go-to service, it shouldn't be hard for other apps to support Feedly if it really can create a replica of Google's API. But Feedly isn't just leaving app development up to the community — it's going to be beefing up its own services as well. The company announced today that it will be creating an app for Windows Phone and Windows 8, adding search features to its own client, and making its mobile and desktop experiences faster. But even without those, Feedly is still the best overall Reader alternative available today.
Apr 27, 2013
Reeder for iPhone now supports standalone RSS and Feedbin, Google Reader no longer required
One of the side effects of Google's decision to shut down Reader on July 1st is that numerous mobile and desktop apps are now scrambling for a new way to provide value to their users. Reeder, one of the most popular Google Reader apps for iOS, had previously announced plans to continue development despite Reader's impending shudown, and now there's a new version of the app available that can sync with third-party RSS reader Feedbin. Of course, you'll need to sign up for the $2 monthly fee that Feedbin charges, but after that you'll be free to use Reeder long past July 1st.Read Article >
Perhaps more noteworthy is Reeder's new, standalone RSS feature — you don't even need a Feedbin or Google Reader account anymore. Instead, you can start curating RSS feeds right on your iPhone; if you had a Google Reader account you can also simply import your feeds straight from there. Unfortunately, this feature isn't available on the iPad or OS X versions of Reeder yet, but those apps will get all of the iPhone features when they are updated to version 2.0 "in the coming months." For now, Reeder cautions that its standalone RSS syncing is "still a work in progress," so it might be a little buggy at first. If you'd prefer to sync through an alternate service like Feedbin, Reeder says that more options will be added in the future.
Mar 19, 2013
RSS isn't dead: the best Google Reader alternatives
When I heard Google was planning to kill Google Reader on July 1st as part of a “spring cleaning exercise,” I was appalled. Google had decided to disband the team of paperboys that delivered me the news every morning. While RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is years past its heyday, it had become a wonderful and efficient way to read news untarnished by the social networking age. It was my firehose of headlines, straight from the source.Read Article >
And Google Reader is a lot more than an RSS client. It syncs news feeds between different apps, and makes sure you can always pick up right where you left off. It’s also simple and free, which means it drove most competitors out of the market long ago. Once Reader dies July 1st, we’ll be left with apps that don’t rely on its backend to sync your feeds — which isn't very many apps. Various denizens of the internet and companies like Digg have volunteered to create new backends of their own, but for now, picking an RSS client you can trust means you’ll need one that doesn’t rely on Google Reader.
Mar 16, 2013
More than 500,000 Google Reader users claimed by Feedly in two days
Google's controversial decision to shut down Google Reader on July 1st has left its users searching for a new news-collecting homeland, and we now have an idea of the scale of the RSS diaspora. Feedly has announced that more than half a million Google Reader users have signed up for its RSS service following Google's service termination announcement on Wednesday. Feedly also says it's working to keep up with its growth, increasing bandwidth by 10 times and adding new servers. Moving forward, the developers say its main priorities over the next 30 days are to keep the service running, to solicit suggestions from new users, and to add new features on a weekly basis.Read Article >
The Google Reader shutdown will force users and developers of third-party RSS clients using Reader's services to find a new solution keep their news aggregators running. On Wednesday, Feedly promised that it would clone the Google Reader API to give users a "seamless transition" when Reader shuts down, and other RSS app makers, including the creators of Press and Reeder, have also indicated they are committed to finding a solution.
Mar 14, 2013
Why RSS still matters
Google's bombshell last night that it would be shutting down the Google Reader RSS client hit the web, well, like a bomb. Just as with any major tech event, it spurred a raft of reactions on what is currently our best real-time conversation broadcasting network, Twitter. Reactions ranged from outrage to sadness to smugness — the latter epitomized by the camp who say that RSS was already a confusing mess that needed to be shot down completely and besides, it had been replaced by Twitter itself anyway.Read Article >
Well, no. RSS matters.
Mar 14, 2013
As Google Reader goes offline, those living under censorship lose vital news source
For many of us, Google Reader fading into oblivion means we'll need to hunt down another source for our daily news fix. For others, though, the loss is far more significant. As Quartz is today pointing out, Reader has become a critical resource for those living under oppressive regimes in recent years — particularly in Iran. Despite the stranglehold Iran has put on web access with its heavy-handed censorship tactics, Reader has continually provided its residents with uncensored news and views from the outside world. That's because the headlines, snippets, and other items in a Google Reader feed are retrieved from Google's own servers located far away from the regime's jurisdiction.Read Article >
The search company's colossal influence has thus far kept Reader alive, whereas it's been far easier for Iran to eliminate similar services by merely cutting off access. Doing that with Reader isn't so easy, as it would also send Google's other popular services offline. Iran has pursued the all-or-nothing blockade before, but eventually backed away from the aggressive approach each time. Reader is also considered a vital tool in China, where Google's RSS aggregator has somehow evaded being filtered by the "Great Firewall." For these people, a Digg clone simply won't do the trick.
Mar 14, 2013
Digg will build its own version of Google Reader, should sync with existing clients
Faithful Google Reader users have spent the last day asking themselves what they'll do when the RSS service shuts down on July 1st, and one of the more unlikely options might be coming from Digg. The company just announced in a blog post that it plans to build its own version of Google Reader that "makes the Internet a more approachable and digestible place." The company's vision involves identifying and rebuilding the best features of Reader while simultaneously making it "fit the Internet of 2013." From the sound of things, that'll include plenty of ways to hook your RSS into the social web, as the company explicitly mentioned sites like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Reddit as "powerful but often overwhelming signals as to what's interesting."Read Article >
The company had actually planned on doing this in the second half of 2013, but following Google's announcement, the company says its RSS reader project has moved to the top of its priority list. To help pull this new project off, Digg is currently asking for suggestions and feature requests from potential users. Ideally, since Digg plans to use the Google Reader API, the new service will sync with existing clients. It's too soon to say whether or not this will be a seamless substitute for Google Reader, but it should give RSS junkies a little bit of hope.
Mar 14, 2013
Feedly could save Google Reader clients with cloned API
The impending demise of Google Reader has major implications for the app development community; Google's RSS service had become the de facto standard for third-party clients, and users and developers alike will need to find an alternative. Popular news aggregation app Feedly thinks it has a solution, though — it's been working on a project that clones the Google Reader API, and says that users will see a "seamless transition" once Reader shuts down.Read Article >
It sounds like other clients will have the option of Feedly's solution, too; a statement provided to GigaOm says that since the Feedly-created API is supposed to be identical to Google's, other clients should be able to plug into the service in the same way. However, Feedly notes that there might be a few slight hitches with authentication and feed organization. In any case, it looks like app developers are taking the Reader news in stride — the creators of Press and Reeder, for example, have let users know that they are committed to finding a solution.
Mar 13, 2013
Google, don't turn off Reader. Signed, The Internet
Google's sudden decision to sunset Reader — perhaps the best-known RSS reader ever made — has been met with swift reaction from high-profile users across the web. Here's a sampling of people asking to save an RSS service on Google... all coming from the service that probably helped kill it in the first place: Twitter.Read Article >
From Twitter's Jim Prosser:
Mar 13, 2013
Google Reader to shut down July 1st
Google has announced yet another spring cleaning of its various services, and this time around, the company is giving the axe to its Google Reader RSS aggregator. The service, which originally launched back in 2005, will be officially put out to pasture on July 1st, 2013. Reader has gone through a number of iterations, but it had not been significantly updated in a long time. The last time that Google updated the product, it built in integration for the Google+ social network and removed Reader's own native sharing service, causing a bit of a backlash with die hard users. Google is offering users a way to export their Reader content, including lists of users that they follow and starred and liked articles.Read Article >
In addition to killing off Reader, beginning next week Google is ending support for the Google Voice app for BlackBerry smartphones, instead pointing users toward the HTML5 webapp. The company will no longer sell or update the desktop versions of its Snapseed photo editing app, and a number of other developer APIs are also being killed off.
Feb 11, 2013
Google Reader broken for a large number of users (update)
Google Reader appears to be experiencing a number of issues, displaying viewed posts as unread and not allowing users to mark posts as read. Some users are even reporting that several of their subscriptions have disappeared altogether. Judging from complaints on the Google Reader support forum, the issues began sporadically last week, worsened over the weekend, and have come to a head as users return to their daily routine and check their feeds. While some users aren't experiencing any problems whatsoever, we were able to reproduce several of the reported issues. Google support forums contributor Matti Meikäläinen says "the Google Reader team has been notified and someone will be looking into this," but there's no word on how soon a fix will come. We've reached out to Google for comment on the ongoing issues.Read Article >
Update: We've heard from Google, who informed us in the statement below that the problem has been solved.
Oct 31, 2011
Google Reader redesign rolling out today with Google+ integration
Google announced earlier this month that Reader would be getting a full redesign and Google+ integration, and according to Google software engineer Alan Greene's post, it's time. The new design will roll out to all users by the end of the day, and all current friending, following, sharing, and commenting features will be disabled in favor of Google+ integration. Greene also notes the decision to retire Reader's sharing features wasn't "made lightly," but should create a "better experience across" all of Google's services. An updated version of the Android app is also coming soon.Read Article >
We've seen unhappy rumblings from Washington D.C. to Iran about these planned changes to Reader, largely over the shuttering of sharing features that have been in place for years. A hardcore group of self-described "sharebros" has even been building their own alternative reader. With Google introducing these changes with language like "if you decide to stay" that hardly exhibits confidence, the next few weeks could be a bumpy ride.
Oct 21, 2011
Google Reader facelift and Google+ integration coming soonRead Article >
Until now, Google Reader, still a wellspring of equal parts inspiration and unread items guilt for info junkies in the Twitter age, has firmly held its ground while its Docs, Search, Gmail, and Maps brethren have been redesigned. Google announced Thursday, though, that the utilitarian, RSS hose of Google Reader will be brought in line with the lighter, more "designed" UI already seen across most of Google's products. More importantly, perhaps, is the inevitable Google+ integration that will be rolling into your feeds. In less than a week, Google will be shutting down many of Reader's social features (e.g. friending, following, and shared link blogs) in favor of funneling your social actions into Google+'s Circles and +1's. Sure, a design upgrade is much-needed as Reader turned 6 earlier this month, but shuttering all of the social features for what's largely a small group of power users is going to make for a bumpy ride.