Google Reader is no more 

RSS web feed buttonIf you like to keep up with all the latest postings in your favorite websites and blogs, how do you do it without spending ages clicking through to one site after another?

Well, until a few days ago, for many of us – millions probably – the tool of choice was Google Reader. This free service, an aggregator fed by web feeds, would constantly monitor the blogs you listed on your account and then deliver excerpts and full copies of the blogs to your desktop without your having to do anything else.

I’ve not only been a user of Google Reader, for years I have been recommending it to others as a practical way to keep up to date with minimal effort.

But no more.

Google in its wisdom (?) has now discontinued the service, as of July 1, 2013. The reason given is that “usage has declined”.

If you had a Google Reader account and have not yet exported your data, it’s worth checking out the information Google has provided, at this link, about transitional arrangements.

So what next?

Fortunately, there are other options.

From my enquiries in recent weeks, one option that kept coming up as favoured, is Feedly.

Fast-growing Feedly

Feedly home page screenshotOnce Google announced its intention to “retire” (i.e. kill off) Reader, the door was open for other, less well known aggregators to attract as many previously loyal users of Reader as they could. One that was quickly out of the blocks, offering a one-click import of our Google Reader links, was Feedly.

Fortunately, they seem to have been ready for a stampede. As the Feedly blog announced two days later, the service gained over 500,000 new users within 48 hours of Google’s announcement. Then just two weeks later it was 3 million plus new subscribers.

CNet has high praise for Feedly

Overall, Feedly is one of the best RSS readers out there. It performs well and looks beautiful on the Web, and it syncs all of your activity seamlessly to native iOS and Android apps. For all of your RSS needs, this service should definitely be at the top of your list.

Although I signed up with Feedly, and imported my links from Google Reader, a week or so ago, I’ve only been using the service seriously in the past 24 hours, but I am impressed.

The layout is attractive to the eye and there are display options, including a Google Reader type layout for those who don’t want too much change too soon, a card layout and the magazine layout, the last of which I prefer right now.

And it is free.

Navigation took me a little while to figure out but with a bit of trial and error it quickly became pretty straightforward.

Feedly has proved generally good at picking up new sites I want to add, except for one where it would not recognize a basic blog url, nor a Feedburner feed: I tested that site on two other aggregators and they picked it up immediately. Hopefully a minor glitch.

I looked also at Bloglovin, which is pretty neat, and now have an account there – it’s free too – but for now I will work on using Feedly to keep me abreast of updates on my preferred sites.

Have you tried Feedly, or other aggregators? Am I missing an even better solution?