Google has pulled the plug on Reader, its popular tool for viewing RSS feeds, due to waning popularity. Launched in 2005, the service was adept at bringing everything you cared about on the Internet to a single page. Furthermore, it synced your feeds across all devices. You could subscribe to RSS feeds of your favorite sites/blogs, and the feeds would reach you whenever the site/blog was updated. While there has been a shift in the way people access feeds today, there are enough people who are accustomed to or use Google Reader extensively on desktops. For these users, we have picked the top three alternatives for Reader.
Reader’s demise will benefit Feedly immensely. Feedly comes across as an apt and direct replacement as it is the most popular alternative and has a neat and slick user interface. It can be easily personalized with a newspaper-esque interface or an image-centric view. Feedly also has a competent app for users looking for a mobile-friendly RSS feed service. Available on the Web, Android and iOS, it seamlessly syncs feeds across all of your devices, letting you access feeds on your smartphone or tablet, and then pick up from where you left off on your computer. To increase its chances as the best alternative for Reader, Feedly has been adding a slew of features. The set of new features includes a new synchronization service, keyboard shortcuts, extension-free web apps and more.
The Digg Reader was announced shortly after Google revealed the imminent demise of its Reader. It has been in the works for the last three months, and has been in the beta testing stage for some time now. Although it has been launched officially, you could call it a work in progress. It has adopted a similar Google Reader-like interface, and you have to sign-in using your Google account. Digg Reader allows users to share stories on Instagram, social networks and, obviously, on Digg. It also has a filter that shows all the trending articles from your feeds. The reader has some features in the pipeline, such as being able to view unread items and marking items as unread. With the number of quick updates it has been getting, it looks like Digg Reader is all geared up to replace Reader, but isn’t there yet. An iOS app is available, and an Android app is expected soon.
AOL has also launched its own tool for viewing RSS feeds and it’s called AOL Reader. It is a simple web RSS reader that comes without many bells and whistles, and can be accessed using your Twitter, Google or Facebook accounts. It is not as slick as Feedly or Digg’s offerings, but AOL does make it easy to get new content from several news sources across categories. It comes with different layout formats, including a thumbnail kind (card view) of view that shows the headline and lead image of every article. Users can mark articles to read later, and you’re also shown a catalogue of similar or suggested sites. AOL Reader has a lot of potential as a web application, but there is no support for mobile platforms. Nevertheless, AOL is said to be working on smartphone and tablet apps so that department will be covered. Apart from these, some other options include The Old Reader and Flipboard. Desktop users can also take a look at Reeder (Mac) and Outlook. The Opera browser also has a default RSS reader.