Best RSS Readers a.k.a. Google Reader Alternatives

Google is shutting down Google Reader, the only decent RSS reader which has no jazz or UI elements/tweaks to modify RSS from its core simple function to a fancy app like experience. Not that people hate seeing some good UI app, but kills the reason why RSS was made. But that’s a discussion(rant) for some other time.


Right now everybody is worried about what is going to happen to their RSS feeds,
When Google Reader shuts down, who will handle their RSS consumption?
Are there any Google Reader alternatives? Are they any good ?
Does anyone provide a Google Reader like experience?
Does any RSS reader/app import my Google Reader feeds without making me add those manually?

To answer these questions, I should start by saying there is some good news and some bad news in this. Lets look at the good news first.
Since the announcement of Google shutting down RSS, app developers, present RSS Readers and other RSS web apps have started working really hard to be the Google Reader replacement. For months all of them have developed their tool to either accommodate Google Reader users or help them move out of the Google Reader environment by importing their feeds and help them import/manage/edit and store it somewhere else. So that they can move on with the bad news of Google Reader shutting down. This way no matter what happens post the 1st of July ( The day Google Reader will shut down ) your feed would be safe and moved to a service which you regularly use.

Now for some bad news, most of the apps which were stagnant or just worked now have to be ready to accommodate the millions of Google Reader users who will switch over soon. This means many good RSS apps are either expanding or back in development phase to bring the best possible RSS reader for you. Since it was a very short time by Google to everyone most of the apps you will switch into would be either in development phase or half baked.
Google Reader was a free app/service which worked great. But many believe being free was the major reason it shut down and other free apps which just provide this service and are free might shut down in future. So the reason why many RSS readers now provide paid subscription and paid services which they promise would be kept alive forever.
Fact is, it doesn’t really matter if a service is paid or free. If it has to shutdown for some major reason it would shut down and there is nothing that can be done to stop that. So choosing between free versus paid is a personal choice and nothing more. I believe a free service will work as long as it has a good userbase and loyal users.

First things first, you should take your Google Reader data out from Google via Google Takeout

All Google Reader subscription data (eg. lists of people that you follow, items you have starred, notes you have created, etc.) will be systematically deleted from Google servers. You can download a copy of your Google Reader data via Google Takeout until 12PM PST July 15, 2013.

So now comes the major questions, what are your options?
There are several new services which are great and do the job well. So here is a small rundown of available services/apps which does the job of syncing your RSS feeds much simpler and easy.

Note : This is not the complete list of available RSS services/apps. But a few of the ones which we tried and believe are close to giving a similar or a better experience to Google Reader.


feedly reader

Feedly is one of the best options left right now. As soon as the Google Reader shutdown was announced, Feedly immediately stretched their hands to accommodate all the Google Reader users. They expanded the servers, added some new features, updated their web-based reader. Definitely worth the try and time. The developers at Feedly are working really hard to integrate other services with Feedly, they recently partnered with IFTTT for users to play with some really unique recipes. There soon would be a monetization program for publishers.

Cost : Free
Firefox Addon | Chrome Extension | Safari App | iOS | Android | Web version

Digg Reader

digg reader

Remember Digg? Betaworks ( the company which acquired Digg ), quickly jumped in the RSS reader game and announced they will bring a RSS reader soon. They would be working hard to integrate Digg with their RSS reader but apart from the digg popularity icons there is nothing that suggest they will combine it with their Digg development. Being said that, Digg Reader is still in beta so do not be surprised to run into a few bugs. It has a very simple and usable UI, the ‘Popular’ tab also helps you discover the most popular feeds with other readers.
The team would be working to integrate a lot of services with the new Digg Reader, and they have promised the IFTTT integration.

Once its out of beta, there would be a paid plan but we have no clue what it would be about. No details about the paid plan are out yet.

Cost : Free
Web version | iOS | Android



This is a freemium option for anyone who uses RSS very seriously, NewBlur has been in market of RSS readers from really long time. They always have been in the RSS business but with a different vision. So they have their own feature list which makes them a unique service. You can view original posts or formatted posts ( only text and no images ) within the feed, you can share articles with your comments on it and non-newsblur users can read that as you share. NewsBlur is built on a very personal algorithm this way any stories you vote up or rate help you grow your feed as it would smart suggest you content which you would like based on likes.

But the catch is, free users need a invitation to get in and use it. Apart from the wait time, NewsBlur only allows you 64 feeds and upto 10 stories of each would be pulled in your feed. So free account is very restricted.
If you are willing to pay and try it out you have a immediate spot to do so. The service bills you annually and has no restrictions whatsoever. The annual fee is $24 /year

Cost : Free + Premium ( $24/ year )
Web version | iOS | Android


reeder app

Reeder has been a very popular RSS reader for iOS and Mac. It provides Google Reader sync and a very simple, and intuitive reading interface. The app will work even after 1st July but there would be a few many changes. The Google Reader support is now changed and pushed to work with and they have added a standalone RSS support which you need to manually add feeds.
The reason we added Reeder to this list is because this paid app for iOS is now free. Only the present version is free so make sure you download it before the new update comes. Just to make it clear, once downloaded this app would be free forever with upgrades for free.

The iPad and Mac apps/clients won’t be getting an update soon as the Google Reader sync would stop working post 1st July.

Cost : $2.99 Free

iOS | Mac


the old reader

Just like NewsBlur, The Old Reader has been in the RSS market from long time. Its been more than an year this app has been in beta. The app works as it should, you add your feeds from Google Reader ( via the Google Reader Takeout ) everything is imported as it has been setup in Google Reader. The UI is very basic and most of the Google Reader Keyboard shortcuts works ( yay! ).
One of the app drawbacks is, since it was never made to beat or compete Google Reader, it has features and some missing features. The oddest missing feature is the sharing options. You can share things within The Old Reader but you cannot share on Facebook or Twitter from within this service.
The Old Reader is in our list of good RSS readers only because of its simple UI and quick setup. The developers work really slow in adding features or fixing small bugs. Thankfully there are no big bugs which would hurt your experience and hinder your RSS feed readings.

Cost : Free
Only Web version

AOL Reader

aol reader

AOL made a very nice and simple looking Reader. No one expected they would bring in RSS reader, but AOL jumped in to capture the market. The reader is simple, easy to use and no other fluff but the process of getting your feeds on AOL Reader is not that simple. You need to get your Google Reader data out from Google Takeout, import it in AOL manually and then the magic begins. The Reader is free, and you get instant access to it, no wait time or beta invite. Its optimised for mobile and AOL has plans to release mobile apps too.

Cost : Free
Only Web version for now, mobile apps coming soon


go read

If you are looking for the exact Google Reader experience and want a clone which looks and works exactly like Google Reader, then Go Read is the answer. This is the exact clone of Google Reader and feeds can either be imported directly or the OPML file could be imported. The developer has retained all the old Google Reader Shortcuts to make it look and feel like the now old Google Reader. Its fast, clean and works as it should.
The developer is a lone developer working on this project, so there are chances he might not get enough time to keep working on this. Though a Reader app won’t really need much of working unless there is a feature request or something. Since it’s a app by a lone developer and its free, we are not sure how it would be kept running. Being said that, I would recommend you this web app if you were a power Google Reader user. This should be a seamless transition.

Cost : Free

Flipboard, Zite, Curata & Apps like that

On the flipside of RSS readers are the news aggregator which allow you to subscribe to selected websites and lets you add in your feeds/OPML from Google Reader. These apps basically enrich your RSS feed by making them look like a magazine and bring in a streamline experience while reading. These apps try to emulate the old magazine feeling when you read these news articles. Not that they are bad but they don’t fit the bill of being RSS readers, but who am I to judge? The recent readership wants something like that and they feel it’s a better experience than RSS Readers despite pulling the RSS feeds. If you are one of those, you should definitely try some of these apps.
Flipboard | Zite | Curata | Newsify | Pulse | Prismatic

These Google Reader alternatives are the best we could find. Personally I am choosing either Feedly or Digg Reader. I want to stick with Go Read but we can’t be sure how long it would be running. If it does stay, its great. That would be the perfect Google Reader replacement. But for now I am a bit sceptical. On mobile I prefer using Feedly and Reeder. That doesn’t mean you have to chose these apps, the ones we listed are the best to choose from, so you should give every app a fair shot yourself. Try them, test them one per week and then finalise the one you want to stick with.

And remember,  All Google Reader subscription data (eg. lists of people that you follow, items you have starred, notes you have created, etc.) will be systematically deleted from Google servers. You can download a copy of your Google Reader data via Google Takeout until 12PM PST July 15, 2013.

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