Replacing Google Reader - 4 Alternatives

By Jimmy Bonney | May 31, 2013


Google announced earlier this year that they would shut down Google Reader as part of their spring cleanup on July 1st, 2013. Google Reader is a feed reader that had been adopted by a few millions users but the usage of the application has been declining for a while and instead of maintaining a costly application, they preferred to retire it. This came as a shock to many people but based on what I’ve been reading so far, a few applications raised to the challenge and users seems to have found their way around it… often for the best.

So, with one month left to migrate your data from Google, it is time to find out a viable alternative to Google Reader. In this article, I’ll present 4 alternative feed readers.


Feedly has been welcoming more than 3 millions users in the two weeks that followed Google announcement. It is seen by many as Google’s heir.

Signing up is easy and happens through your Google account, which allows to retrieve all your feeds and keep them synchronized with the service as long as it runs. They mentioned that they would replace the back-end (currently relying on Google Reader) before the service would shut down.

Finally the application is easy on the eye, keyboards shortcuts are available and they have applications for all platforms (iOS, Android, web).

Feedly home

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The Old Reader

The Old Reader had nearly 200K users at the beginning of April, and there is no doubt that they kept growing since then.

The sign up process is a bit more complicated than with feedly. It requires first to export your data from Google. This is easily done through their Takeout service. Create and download the archive and then upload the file subscriptions.xml to The Old Reader. Once import is completed, you’ll receive an email and your feeds will be available in the interface.

The only drawback with this import is that all read content is not synchronized, meaning that all your feeds will be re-downloaded and you’ll start with a few hundreds (or thousands) or unread articles but this can be easily fix with a click on “Mark all as read”.

Application is evolving quickly and all help is appreciated. There are currently no phone / tablet application but an iOS application is on its way.

The Old Reader feed overview


NewsBlur seems small compared to the above alternatives as it currently “only” serves around 13K users. However, it already offers mobile applications (iOS, Android) on top of the usual web app.

Trying out the application can be done from the home page. No need to sign up for that. This is pretty sleek! I haven’t tried to sign up at this stage as the free version only allows up to 64 feeds but based on what is visible on the trial interface, it is nice and very customizable. There are plenty of additional options as well such as the ability to “train” your feeds so that only the story you’re more interested in eventually make it through.

The person behind the application, Samuel Clay is quite open about the application so there are some live stats available on the home page as well… and the application is open sourced on GitHub.

Newsblur interface

Tiny Tiny RSS

Tiny Tiny RSS is an alternative solution that allows you to in-source your feed reader and host it on your server.

Obviously, the setup is more complicated than just importing feeds but LifeHacker has written a detailed guide about how to do it.

There is also an Android application that is available and can be configured to point to your server.

Newsblur interface


While Google’s decision to turn off Reader has raised a lot of questions / surprise / fear among its users, there are plenty of alternatives available. However, the nature of the game might have changed as people realize that they might have to pay to continue using a RSS reader. Most of the alternatives above offer a free version, but the Google story is a great reminder that what you do not pay for, might get closed down in a blink of an eye.

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