google reader alternatives

April 3, 2013 at 8:12 am | | everyday science, literature, science community, software

Now that Google Reader is going the way of the dodo¬†Google Gears, how am I going to keep up with the literature?!? I read RSS feeds of many journal table of contents, because it’s one of the best ways to keep up with all the articles out there (and see the awesome TOC art). So what am I to do?

There are many RSS readers out there (one of my favorites was Feeddler for iOS), but the real problem is syncing! Google servers took care of all the syncing when I read RSS feeds on my phone and then want to continue reading at home on my computer. The RSS readers out there are simply pretty faces on top of Google Reader’s guts.

But now those RSS programs are scrambling to build their own syncing databases. Feedly, one of the frontrunners to come out of the Google Reader retirement, claims that their project Normandy will take care of everything seamlessly. Reeder, another very popular reader, also claims that syncing will continue, probably using Feedbin. Feeddler also says they’re not going away, but with no details. After July 1, we’ll see how many of these programs actually work!

So what am I doing? I’ve tried Feedly and really like how pretty it is and easy it is to use. The real problem with Feedly is that its designed for beauty, not necessarily utility. For instance look how pretty it displays on my iPad:


But note that its hard to distinguish the journal from the authors and the abstract. And it doesn’t show the full TOC image. Feedly might be faster (you can swipe to move to the next articles), but you may not get as much full information in your brain and might miss articles that might actually interest you.

Here’s Reeder, which displays the title, journal, authors, and TOC art all differently, making it easy to quickly scan each ¬†article:



And Feeddler:


I love that Feeddler lets me put the navigation arrow on the bottom right or left, and that it displays a lot of information in nice formatting for each entry. That way, I can quickly flip through many articles and get the full information. The major problem is that it doesn’t have a Mac or PC version, so you’ll be stuck on your phone.

I think I’ll drop Feeddler and keep demoing Reedler and Feedly until July 1 rolls around.


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  1. I’m really getting a lot of use out of NewsBlur – give it a shot.

    Comment by AS — April 3, 2013 #

  2. I’m probably going to stick with Reeder and pony up for Feedbin. Feedbin looks very polished already, and their web reader looks pretty decent too.

    Black Pixel bought NetNewsWire some time ago, and they’ve announced plans to resurrect it and bring syncing to their Mac & iOS versions as well. Although I don’t think I’ve read anything about a Windows or web client.

    Comment by Dan Daranciang — April 5, 2013 #

  3. You should try Reeder on the Ipad.

    I got it for free the other day via a website called appshopper, which you can Google.

    I am afraid that Google has a long history of doing this.

    Its one reason why I think that anyone that gets their Chromebooks that rely totally on their cloud storage must be mad.

    Google are not a good company to trust with your projects.

    Comment by Bill Williams — April 9, 2013 #

  4. After learning that Google reader is leaving us I found Taptu. And I love it! It’s easy better than Google reader. I like that it’s highly customizable and reach new post is bold while the posts I’ve read are still there just greyed out. And the posts include a picture of its article.

    Comment by Lance — April 22, 2013 #

  5. Please consider giving Bibliogo ( a shot. Bibliogo is a scientific mashup combing RSS Feed Aggregation & Reference Management.

    Comment by Ian Palmer — June 19, 2013 #

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