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Bye-bye, Google Reader: Alternative RSS solutions for Mac and iOS users

Lex Friedman | June 28, 2013
After July 1, 2013, Google Reader is no more. Lex Friedman tried many alternatives to figure out the best way to satisfy his news reading desire with his Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Because I write about technology, people tend to ask me for tech advice. So ever since Google's heartbreaking announcement that it was closing down Google Reader—and the newsfeed syncing APIs that went along with—folks have asked me what my news reading plan is post Reader's demise.

I love RSS; I've used NetNewsWire since its launch, and I use Reeder for iPad and iPhone. All three apps stay in sync via Google Reader's API, and they've worked together in beautiful harmony for years. And now Google's ruining everything by killing a beloved (though likely unprofitable) service. So when people ask me what my plan is for RSS after Google, my answer is simple: denial, denial, denial.

Google Reader shuts down July 1. A million newsreaders will cry out, no longer able to sync their feeds across multiple devices. Those who relied on Google Reader's Web interface will similarly find themselves stuck up the news creek without a reader. Denial's gotten me this far, but it's time to move on.

There are options. I don't love any of them, yet. But perhaps I can learn to.

Export business
Many services can import your Google Reader subscriptions. But listen—and this is important—the time to export your Google Reader subscriptions is now. Don't wait. If you haven't exported them yet, do so before July 1 rolls around. If you use an app like NetNewsWire, you can use its Export OPML options. Otherwise, head over to Google Takeout, and re-enter your password if prompted. Click the Choose Services tab, and then find Reader in the alphabetical list. Then click Create Archive, wait a minute or three, and click Download to grab the completed archive.

There are several companies aiming to replace Google Reader both as Web services and as backend APIs for third-party apps to connect to. Some of the companies are huge—we'll get to them in a bit. In some ways, though, I'm more intrigued by the little guys entering the space. That may be because Google, one of the biggest big guys, just left me high and dry. So let's start smaller.

Young upstarts
Feedly, FeedHQ, Feedbin, Feed Wrangler, Fever, and BazQux Reader are all smaller companies looking to usurp Google Reader's old place in our hearts and software. (BazQux clearly didn't get the "start name with F" memo.)

Different apps work with different services. Reeder for iPhone (not the iPad version) currently works with Feedbin and Fever. Mr. Reader supports every service mentioned above on the iPad. As Google Reader's demise gets closer, expect more apps to announce support for new services.


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