Alas, Google; you wound me. I’m a big fan of keeping up with important news and favorite sources via RSS, and Google Reader has been the focal point of my RSS diet for a long time now. It offered the perfect cloud solution for my habit- the web page is a bit spartan but works well, and the service integrates perfectly with so many RSS clients (including my current iOS choice Mr Reader). The search function was the clincher: no matter what topic you might want to add to your feeds, the ever present Google search bar on the Reader page could quickly find the perfect feed.
While Google hasn’t been shy about discontinuing products that never caught on (such as the much maligned Buzz), the pending elimination of Reader was surprising and unwelcome news. I’m not the only one that feels this way; Reader has always been a fairly popular RSS solution for those in the know. The majority of RSS clients listed in the iTunes App Store boast of their ability to work seamlessly with Reader. Some sources have stated that Reader isn’t being completely discarded, it’s just being absorbed by the less popular (to me at least) Google +, but even if it doesn’t lose much of its current functionality I loathe the idea of forcibly merging what is usually quality me time (enjoying RSS feeds) with a social networking platform.
So now what? I’m at a slight loss, to be honest. There are plenty of RSS readers for both OSX and iOS, but I’m looking for a cloud-based solution that offers the same sort of device agnostic support that I’ve grown accustomed to. My needs aren’t that great; I don’t want to merge my social network reading (especially Facebook, but I’d like to keep Twitter and G+ separate as well), I just want my feeds to sync across all the devices I use to access them and the ability to easily share the articles that I find interesting/entertaining with those I think will enjoy them too.
I’ve already checked out some suggested alternatives. NewsBlur looks like it would fit the bill, but their free service is intentionally limited and currently I feel too spoiled by my free Reader experience to quickly opt for their $1/month subscription service. Netvibes is a powerful service and offers just about everything I’d want, but the interface isn’t appealing at the moment and it may be a bit TOO powerful. Their homepage tout its usefulness for professional data mining and limitless configuration/personalization. While impressive, my needs are too simplistic to go that route right now.
My choice as of now is Feedly. It has simple cross platform support (including a Safari plugin for web use), a clean and easy to navigate interface, and some of the same sharing functionality that Reader supported. With luck I’ll be able to make a fairly painless transition.
While I can’t rule out Google as my source for RSS, integration into Google + does seem to be a deal breaker at this time. For those of you like me, we do have some time- Reader’s end as a standalone product won’t be until July.