Alternatives to Google Reader (Part 1)

7/28/2013 11:06:34 AM

Google did another round of ‘spring cleaning’ last month, and one of the services to get the axe was our much loved Google Reader. Sad news indeed, but it’s not the end of the world. There exist a number of alternative ways to consume RSS feeds, and Google Reader’s untimely demise has shifted the focus to these alternatives, for which this is a golden opportunity to fill the void that Reader will leave behind.

Cross-platform Alternatives (Web + Mobile App / Desktop + Mobile)


One of the first services to respond to the news of Reader’s imminent shutdown was the popular magazine-style reader Feedly. One of the more comprehensive alternatives Feedly has browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple’s Safari, along with free apps for iOS, Android and the Kindle Fire. It uses a ranking algorithm to push the most popular or relevant stories to the top, and lets you switch between different layouts, from a traditional list-based interface (similar to Reader) to one with large-tiles, similar to a magazine. While it currently uses Google Reader as a backend, Feedly has stated that it’s working on a project called Normandy which will clone the Reader API, enabling it to “seamlessly transition to the Normandy back end” when Reader shuts down. Check it out here:

Reeder (Mac / iOS)

Feedly lets you browse your feeds in a magazine format

Feedly lets you browse your feeds in a magazine format

Reeder is a wonderful example of the great design and polished look iOS and Mac apps are known for. Sporting a clean, minimalistic look, Reeder offers a traditional folder-based organization of feeds by importing your Google Reader subscriptions. It can parse the text of the feed through Readability to provide a great reading experience. This great design comes at a price though – $2.99 for the iPhone version and $4.99 for the Mac or iPad version. The creator of Reeder tweeted that “Reeder won’t die with Google Reader” without elaborating much, but that should give users some hope! Check it out here:


Newsblur is a true alternative to Reader, in that it doesn’t use the Google Reader API at all. An independent RSS aggregator, it offers a similar interface to Google Reader but with better sharing features, and the ability to switch between different “views” of a feed for better context. It uses a freemium model – the first 64 feeds are free, but you need to shell out $24/year for a premium subscription that offers unlimited feeds and real-time updates. It has free mobile apps for iOS and Android; a good, solid alternative if you’ve only subscribed to a few dozen feeds, with good cross-platform support. Check it out here, if you truly, technically, want a Google Reader alternative:

Reeder for Mac sports a clean, minimalistic look

Reeder for Mac sports a clean, minimalistic look


This is similar to Reeder in that it supports only Mac/ iPhone/iPad, is a feature-filled RSS reader with support for Instapaper, tabbed-browsing, keyboard shortcuts, multiple sharing options including Twitter and Delicious and is scriptable using AppleScript/ Ruby/Python. The free versions have ads and the premium version costs $14.95 for the Mac, $4.99 for the iPhone and $9.99 for the iPad version. Quite a steep price, but if you don’t mind the ads, it’s a great free alternative to Reeder. Check it out here:

Magazine style news duration readers/apps

If you’re the kind who only wants to skim over the headlines while on the move rather than take time out to review all your 100+ feeds, then one of the magazine-style news apps should fit the bill. Pulse (, Flipboard (, Zite ( and News360 ( are all free apps available on Android and iOS (News360 and Zite are also available on Windows Phone), and you start off with a selection of curated content across different categories like News, Technology, Arts, Politics etc. The Pulse and Flipboard apps also let you add your own websites as RSS feeds, and will even plug in to your Google Reader account to import feeds for you. Flipboard can also fetch stories from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr and display them alongside other feeds for a great magazine style experience.

News360 curates stories across different categories

News360 curates stories across different categories

Web-based Readers

For those who prefer to sit down at their desk and quickly sift through hundreds of feeds every day, one of our web-based alternatives are worth it.


As the name suggests, this is a clone of Google Reader before its last update which removed many of the sharing features that Reader users had come to love. It presents a familiar, if improved interface to those migrating from Google Reader, and lets you share to the social network of your choice and discuss feeds with your friends. Check it out here:

The Old Reader preserves many of Google Reader’s best features, while adding a few of its own

The Old Reader preserves many of Google Reader’s best features, while adding a few of its own

Once again, as the name suggests, is designed to manage hundreds (if not thousands) of RSS feeds in a very Google Reader-esque interface with folders, tagging and sharing options. Check it out here:


Netvibes isn’t strictly an RSS feed aggregator and more of an analytics tool, it lets you pin your favorite RSS feeds along with your Twitter timeline onto a virtual dashboard accessed from an iOS device:

Tiny Tiny RSS

If the Google Reader fiasco left you shaken and you’ve sworn not to trust a free service ever again (or if you’re a little geeky with time to spare) then Tiny Tiny RSS is an Open Source RSS reader that you can configure on your own webhost, and use the browser / Android client to read your feeds anywhere. You’ll need a dedicated webserver running Apache or Lighttpd with PHP and MySQL installed. Check it out here:

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