News junkies were devastated last week when Google announced that it would eliminate Google Reader, which displays RSS feeds from websites in a simple list format.
After last week's announcement, media outlets rushed to fill the gap with sites and apps that could take the place of Google Reader. Many of the options display the news in sexy, slick magazine-style formats — a far cry from the utilitarian, text-heavy Google Reader.
Google's announcement also prompted Digg, a social news site, to accelerate its plans to build a Google Reader alternative. Digg's readers are adamant about what they want in a reader replacement.
"Simple, simple, simple please," Oliver Wells, a Digg user wrote in a blog comment. "Just make it do what Reader did and no magazines, etc., etc. nonsense. Just feeds, folders, and that's it."
Until Digg comes out with its replacement (or rather, if it does), you have two good options, depending on what style of reading you like.
Feedly — a magazine
Feedly is the current reader frontrunner, having added more than 500,000 new users in the past 48 hours. Feedly is available as a plug-in for Chrome , Firefox and Safari, but not for Internet Explorer. On your mobile device, reading requires that you swipe in a number of ways — up, down, sideways — which could frustrate Google Reader devotees used to quick scrolling. The Web app shows only a selection of your feeds on the front page, so you'll have to open a sidebar to see the balance.
Feedly syncs with Google Reader, so the feeds are imported to Feedly when you connect your Google account. The company said it is working on a Google Reader clone that would take over on July 1, so that the app will run on its own.
Old Reader — traditionalist app
The Old Reader is an independent Web-based reader that is based on an old version of Google Reader. It offers the same look and feel of Google Reader for those who like the bare-bones approach.
The only tricky aspect is importing your Google Reader feeds. Here's how to do it:
- Open Google Reader and click the gear icon to open your settings and select "download your data."
- Click the import/export tab and select "Download your data through Takeout." Once you see that Google has completed the task, click "Create archive" and Google will build a file you can download to your computer.
- Extract the files to find subscriptions.xml — that's the file you will upload to The Old Reader. (Be patient as your feeds are imported to the site — there were about 50,000 people ahead of us when we attempted to import our feeds, so it took a couple of hours.)
Due to its sudden surge in popularity, The Old Reader announced it will soon introduce mobile versions for iOS and Android .