After years of compiling content for Google users to read, Google Reader will finally expire this July. There’s little doubt that its discontinuation will come as a surprise and disappointment for those of us who relied on the service to organize our daily online reading.
But in the wake of Google Reader’s absence are many innovators now creating their own alternatives to the service described here by Lifehacker. It’s unlikely that you’ll use or need to use all five of their suggestions, so I’ll review them according to the following criteria:
-readability and user-friendliness
-an explore option to find related content
-design (e.g. marking items as “read”)
-applicable to PLNs and/or curation
The Old Reader
Though in beta, the Old Reader is a generous alternative to the original Google Reader. It offers trending articles, a similar design to Google Reader, followers, and the ability to import subscriptions from the original service. It’s the followers option that makes this reader so useful for learning networks. You aren’t just reading; you’re sharing.
Like the Old Reader, NewsBlur imports subscriptions from Google Reader and operates as a bona fide RSS feed. The biggest issue I have with the site, though, is that it’s impossible to obtain a free account right now. And even if you could get one, you’d only be allowed up to 12 free sites. It’s not exactly an accessible site, and the fact that it function as a news site also makes it an unrealistic option.
Feedly’s greatest quality is its simple interface, which cleanly lays out the day’s reading in list format and marks read items. It simultaneously looks and runs similarly to Google Reader and Gmail. One downside to the site, however, is that it lacks a search/explore option or a share option. Still, Feedly works well as a reader and those accustomed to the original should have no issue switching.
This is a great service but it doesn’t exactly fit the mold of “RSS reader.” It’s more of a dashboard tool, not a feed. But as I pointed out here, media managers help tremendously with both curation and PLNs. So while it doesn’t meet much of my criteria as a feed, it certainly has uses for professional life.
Google Reader users will be happy to hear that Pulse allows imported subscriptions, but that’s about all it can provide as a reader. It turns out that this service isn’t strictly an RSS feed and only selects articles for users based on algorithms. Though undoubtedly useful as a news site or digital reader (like Flipboard), it won’t work as the greatest replacement for Google Reader.
Final assessment: Only two of Lifehacker’s recommendations work as comparable replacements–the Old Reader and Feedly. With regards to PLNs and content curation, though, many of the news-based readers seem to be excellent for learning and discovering new ideas. Plus, there’s always Lifehacker’s list of Honorable mentions. Be sure to take a look!
Post By: Rachel Hershkovitz