I’ve used Google Reader for quite a while, probably five years or so. I wasn’t an early adopter, but the service had definitely become the cornerstone of how I interact with news from around the internet. It allowed me to take all of the different websites that I enjoyed and pull them into one feed, organized that feed and then share what I found interesting. It was a solid platform.
But it’s going away. As of July 1st, 2013, Google Reader will shut down and we’ll all be left to find another service to organized our RSS feeds.
I decided to start a few weeks ago, looking at other newsreaders that would offer a similar experience, or maybe even one better. I needed four things from my new software:
It needed to work on Linux PC, iOS and Android, as I use all three OS types on a daily basis.
It needed to be able to organize my feeds into groups that I had become familiar with over the years of using Google. This includes being able to save something for reading later.
It needed to have integration into various sharing apps. Specifically, I needed to be able to get to Twitter, Linkedin and Buffer if possible. Maybe even WordPress if I could at all manage it.
It needed to sync my reading lists over all of these platforms and preferably pull my data from Google.
Feedly on Firefox in Linux (Ubuntu 12.04)
It seemed like a fairly standard list, but I was not very optimistic. This is a tall order from a free (or cheap) newsreader, especially number 4 above.
I’ll cut to the chase here, since I’m sure that my step-by-step decision process is less than enthralling. I tried multiple different online readers, even the MSN one, and found them all pretty lacking. Some were good at organizing, but just had an iOS app or only worked on the computer. Others, Pulse for example, looked slick but didn’t offer much in the way of sharing options. I then came across this article on TechCrunch (via my news feeds on Google Reader, ironically) talking about a new relaunch of a piece of newsreader software called Feedly.
Feedly on iOS (iPhone 4)
I’d heard of Feedly before, but I’d never investigated it beyond a few screenshots. Besides, I already had a newsreader that worked pretty darn well. After some reading I found that it was indeed the software I was looking for. It claimed to do all the things I wanted and then some.
So, I installed the app on all of my devices, synced them with my Google Reader account. All of my data came over flawlessly and I’ll admit it looked great. The sharing options were there with Buffer and Twitter integrated in already*. With minimal work on my part I was grabbing, commenting and sharing like a pro again.
As of this writing I’ve only been using a Feedly for about a day and a half, but I’m liking it (dare I say it?) more than Google Reader. There are a few bugs, and some configuration options that I wish were there, but it’s rare that I go out looking for a piece of software and find one that matches what I needed so perfectly. If you’re one of the immigrants from Google Reader and you need a news reader, I recommend Feedly extremely highly.
Feedly on Android (Galaxy Note 10.1)
PC version: 4/5
iOS version: 5/5
Android version: 4/5
*Buffer does not seem to show up on my Android device. I don’t know if they have yet to implement it or if it’s a configuration thing. Probably the former as Android apps tend to lag a bit behind the iOS ones.