GeekyCult – Google Reader Closing Down Announcement & Aftermath. Best Alternatives Analyzed.

This blog contain my analysis and views about various things I keep stumbling upon daily, mostly technology though.

March 15, 2013

Just when I opened my eyes today, I unlocked my Nexus 4 and there was a notification for unread news on my RSS reader client ‘Reader’. The first news I read was, Google announced that they are closing down Google Reader from 1st of July, 2013. I felt very disappointed. Later, I read so many blog posts about what were the reasons cited for closing it down and if RSS will get destroyed after Google Reader dies. I also read about the speculations of why Google is doing this.Rant About Google: I use Google Reader every minute when I am online. It is like one of the most useful products Google ever made. Of all the products, they had to close this. And ORKUT GETS TO LIVE? Google, are you insane?After a day of disappointing news and grief about it, I finally started a search for a viable alternative to Google Reader. Of 4 years of experience with RSS reader clients across various platforms (Mac, Android, iOS, Windows and Web), I shortlisted down some of the products which I knew had clients for almost all the platforms that I use.Use Cases: Android – My personal phone. Windows – My personal laptop. Mac OS X – My work computer. Web – Universal use case.There were many options such as Twitter, Google Plus, Google Currents, Feedly, Pulse, Taptu and some others. Yes, I even thought to use Twitter to follow news instead of RSS feeds. But it will mix up my news and people I follow on Twitter. So I dropped it. I also dropped Google Currents because it doesn’t let me group feeds as I want under custom folders or pages. I shortlisted Feedly. Pulse & Taptu because they had native applications for smartphones and a web based version to use on desktop. Here are my experiences and observations of what can become the best alternative to Google Reader.Feedly – Very good web based version and iOS client. Android applications is hard to use and its design is non-holo too. Its a no-no for me because I just can’t use a non-holo desing app in my Android phone. But they have promised to support people after Google closes down Google Reader with one of their Google Reader Cloned API called Romandy. They are even inviting RSS Client app developers to try out their RSS Feed API. If they update their Android application with Holo design theme, it will be the best Google Reader application. Period. It lets you save all feeds including folders which are customizable and can be arranged alphabetically.Pulse –

has awesome applications on iOS and Android (yes, with Holo design). Its web based application looks excellent and is responsive too. You can subscribe RSS feeds and arrange them in custom pages according to your liking. But their web interface is lacking some features as of now. You can’t mark all as read and you can’t set to hide read articles as of now. But they might soon add that feature, especially after a lot of people start using it after the death of Google Reader.Taptu –

is a lot like Pulse and it has apps for web, iOS and Android. But a lot of features are lacking such as unread counts, hide read articles and the web interface is very confusing to use. I won’t count Taptu as a competitor to Pulse and Feedly.Google Currents – Very limited to Android device and there is no web version. You can’t create a page to your liking or rename it as you want. But the interface is really nice and simple.Flipboard – has no web version and you can’t know how many unread articles are there. You can’t even hide read articles. You can’t group the feeds as per your needs. It can’t even come close to being a true RSS feeds reader client.There is still no perfect replacement for Google Reader. But Pulse and Feedly are very close to becoming a viable alternative with cloud syncing, native/web apps, hide read items and showing unread counts. I am still waiting for RSS Clients to use Feedly’s API that will supposedly replace/replicate what Google Reader does now. There are rumors that Google is replicating Google Reader functionality into Google Plus to force users to use Google Plus and increase its usage.Let me know if you find any other convenient solution for replicating the usage of Google Reader..

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