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Recommended Replacements for Google Reader [Jun. 20th, 2013|04:52 pm]
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In response to Google Reader's shutdown, I compiled a list of recommendations from dozens of posts, including a crowdsourced spreadsheet.

I checked reviews and security ratings for every item. First I cut options which were app only, required server installation or other complications. Next I cut those designed for other uses with a few reader-ish features. This left me with 15 to test, 11 of which were severly lacking to utter crap. Some duds had been mentioned on multiple blogs - I suspect they copied PR without checking.

This left me with 5 sites enough like Reader to merit use.

CRITERIA
Google Reader set the following standards:
*Keyboard shortcuts: Comprehensive and simple, making it easy to review a vast set of feeds.
*Mark Read - marks all posts as read, with options for older than a day, week or two weeks.
*Tags: functioned as separate folders for individual posts.
*Stared/Saved Items: Keyboard enabled and unlimited.
*Instapaper: Can save currently viewed item from within Reader with one click.
*Pocket: One step keyboard shortcut saves full post even if the feed only displays partial.

RECOMMENDATIONS

BEST: Inoreader
Pros:
The best Reader clone, including social features and analytics. Some differences are improvements. A standalone service which can import Reader subscriptions and folders from XML, plus directly connect to Reader to import starred, tagged and shared items (you can then disconnect and the data will remain).

Cons:
It seems like a labor of love, so it's unclear if it has the resources to function long term. It's so good one feels like it can't last.

Features:
-Most Reader keyboard shortcuts except for moving between folders and feeds.
-Mark Read options are one, two, three days, one week and one month.
-Tags
-Starred items
-Change Font Size within service.
-Keyboard shortcut for Instapaper and Pocket

MOST POPULAR: Feedly
Pros:
Most popular thanks to "Project Normandy" which means it seems sustainable. Ports over starred items, subscriptions, folders.

Cons:
If browser window isn't wide enough, side menu automatically hides istelf, which is annoying. While it claims to be ready for the shutdown, currently it's still wedded to Reader (changes in one show up in the other) so only time will tell. You have to use gmail address of your reader account as login. The design between the browser and mobile version has some dissonance.

Features:
-Keyboard shortcuts not as robust.
-Mark Read is all unread only in mobile version.
-Saved/Starred items
-No tags in mobile version
-In web version, saving to Instapaper and Pocket involves multiple clicks.

GOOD: Old Reader
Pros:
As the name indicates, an older version of Reader, set up when Google removed the social network aspect from the original (I don't use these, but they're important to some. Standalone service which imports Reader subscriptions from xml.

Cons:
Again, the labor of love factor.

Features:
-Most of GR keyboard shortcuts.
-Mark Read is all unread only.
-Starred items
-No Tags
-Instapaper not supported.
-Pocket is supported with keyboard shortcut as in Reader.

OKAY: CommaFeed
Pros:
A partial clone of Reader. Standalone service which imports Reader subscriptions from xml.

Cons:
Another labor of love which is already showing strain and is currently offline, allegedly for a few hours.

Features:
-Most of GR keyboard shortcuts.
-Full range of Mark Read
-Starred items
-No Tags
-Saving to Instapaper and Pocket involves multiple clicks.


MAYBE: Digg Reader
Pros:
Rumored to be amazing.

Cons:
Hasn't launched yet.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: shipbuilding
2013-06-20 10:15 pm (UTC)

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I'm excited to try Inoreader. I've been trying to transition myself by using Feedly on my phone, but I'm not in love with its browser reader so far. It does seem like they are open to feedback from Reader users, so that's promising. You make a good point about resources & longevity - hopefully someone will keep stepping up to serve us "power readers."

Edited at 2013-06-20 10:23 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: picodulce
2013-06-22 12:49 pm (UTC)

NewsBlur

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So far NewsBlur is working for me. I'm not quite sure if it syncs across devices, actually, I don't like clicking twice to save to Pocket or Instapaper, and it's slow at times. But it does handle Google News feeds well, better than Feedly seems to -- that's essential for me, following news about athletes and teams for the blog.
[User Picture]From: fengi
2013-06-24 02:22 pm (UTC)

Re: NewsBlur

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I wanted to like Newsblur because fee based services are more stable in the long term (Livejournal is an example for all its flaws). My issue with Newsblur was the design and keyboard shortcuts are not yet good enough to justify the price, and the free version is too limited.
[User Picture]From: picodulce
2013-06-24 02:50 pm (UTC)

Re: NewsBlur

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makes sense. For my needs, NewsBlur seems to be the only one that does what I need across platforms, but I know my needs are specific and apparently rare. I am a unique RSS Reading snowflake!

Edited at 2013-06-24 02:50 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: rfrancis
2013-06-23 01:37 am (UTC)

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Not sure I follow about "mark read is all unread only" on Feedly -- I can and have marked everything older than a week as read. Now, that said, I think the only options are "one day" "one week" and "all", so it's not perfect, but it turns out for me that "one week" is almost always the right answer. :)

e: Also, you can tag posts in Feedly.


Edited at 2013-06-23 01:38 am (UTC)
[User Picture]From: fengi
2013-06-24 02:35 pm (UTC)

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I should clarify - on the mobile side it's mark all only and there's no tags. Which is a drawback because the other services provide the same across options across platforms. Also, the mobile version has gotten buggy now that they moved to their own cloud server. Hoping there's an update coming.
[User Picture]From: picodulce
2013-06-24 02:49 pm (UTC)

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the mobile version HAS indeed gotten buggy.
[User Picture]From: rfrancis
2013-06-24 03:02 pm (UTC)

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Ah, okay. I tend to go back and forth as to whether I'm primarily using it mobile or browser, and lately it's been the latter. Lucky me, I guess. I understand that gReader is either moving to or has moved to Feedly's backend; I always liked it for mobile reading. Haven't checked it lately though.