When I read the announcement that Google was killing Google Reader on July 1 of this year you could have knocked me over with a feather. I was in shock! Working for a software company, I know that these kinds of decisions are made all the time. However, this one really hit home with me. I use Google Reader ALL THE TIME! It’s the 1st tab that is open in my browser of daily sites that I review. Google Reader is my “daily newspaper”. I can easily subscribe to all the sites i’m interested in as well as keywords that will bring up articles of interest. People always ask me “how do you keep up with everything the way you do?” The answer is my secret weapon – Google Reader. I was currently using the Reeder App for iPhone and iPad because they sync’d so well with my Google Reader Account. Life was good! I wasn’t looking for any new features, Google Reader works fine just the way it its. Rather than cancel it, I’d be fine if Google simply said they weren’t going to ever upgrade it again. However, it’s not up to me and I have to deal with the cards I’ve been dealt. That means looking for Google Reader alternatives.
Feedly Announced that They are Picking up the Slack
Feedly was already an alternative reader that sync’d with your Google Reader account. They already have mobile Apps and even a slick Chrome plug-in. However, on the day that Google announced the end of Reader, they posted this blog post stating that they were already working on cloning the Google Reader API. They also posted this post to help you start the migration NOW.
I downloaded their Universal iOS App to get started. I also installed their Chrome plug-in/extension (yes they have one for Safari and other browsers). Setup at this point is pretty easy. Just log in with your existing Google Reader account and your feeds will all be there. That’s it! I’m sure that more has to go on on the backend so that your feeds get pulled in from Feedly instead of Google by July 1, but there really isn’t anything else for you to do at this point.
The Feedly UI
The Feedly user interface is nice and clean. While not quite as streamlined as Reeder, it’s definitely usable. They make good use of gestures and you can configure it with your Instapaper and Bit.ly accounts for saving and sharing. Once I changed the default view to “Latest” and switched on the “Auto Mark as Read” feature I was feeling more at home with this app. I do like having the initial image to the left of each article even on iPhone. This is somethign that Reeder for iPhone lacked.
The Bottom Line
While I’m sad that Google couldn’t figure out a way to keep Google Reader going (I would have paid for it), I’m happy to see several companies step up and offer alternatives. My only gripe with this App is that there should be an easier way to “mark all as read”. Yes, there is a “long swipe” gesture to do this, but it’s not intuitive. If Feedly get’s it together on the backend by July 1, I will have no reason to look any further. They have seen a jump by over 500,000 new users in just 2 days!