Weekly Crowdsource: RSS Tools

With the last days of Google Reader upon us, I’ve started to do housecleaning on my RSS feeds in preparation for migration. So I thought I’d go to some of the smarter (not to mention, better lookin’) folks I know and ask for recommendations for alternatives.

So, what do ya’ll use to follow your online sources of choice? One request — don’t just simply offer a name. Take a moment and share a sentence or two about what makes this a tool worth trying.

Here’s a running summary of the recommendations:

Application URL # of
Feedly http://feedly.com/ 4
The Old Reader http://theoldreader.com/ 1
Sage http://sagerss.com/ 1

# of “Why Google, Why?!” — 4

(BTW, if you can’t guess from the name, I’m planning on doing a reoccurring crowd-sourcing post each Sunday.)

FILED UNDER: Media, Science & Technology, Uncategorized, , ,
Matt Bernius
About Matt Bernius
Matt Bernius is a design researcher working to create more equitable government systems and experiences. He's currently a Principal User Researcher on Code for America's "GetCalFresh" program, helping people apply for SNAP food benefits in California. Prior to joining CfA, he worked at Measures for Justice and at Effective, a UX agency. Matt has an MA from the University of Chicago.


  1. I’m still stubbornly using Google Reader even though I need to start moving on, and probably should have done so sooner.

    In any case, of all the available options, I am going to go with Feedly. Since Google announced the end of Reader, they’ve done a good job of making it easy to transition to their service, and they’ve introduced features that will make the service more familiar to Google Reader users. More importantly for me, they have a mobile app.

    The other option that many people appear to be moving to is a site called The Old Reader. It’s good, but the lack of a mobile app is kind of a deal breaker for me.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    From PC Magazine:
    regarding “Feedly”

    BY JEFFREY L. WILSON – The long death knell of Google Reader (which will be discontinued this summer) may be tolling, but that doesn’t mean that your RSS adventures need to die just yet. If you’re looking for a new RSS reader that can serve as suitable replacement, the free Feedly may fit into your online reading routine quite nicely. It acts as a browser bookmarklet for Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that delivers news feeds to your browser and syncs to Android and iOS mobile apps, too. Lightweight and easy to use, Feedly is an RSS reader you should check out.

    Setup and Navigation – The Feedly entrance page has a minimalist, lime-green design that has the logos of various publications aligned on the bottom of the interface. Logging in requires the use of a Google account, which means that if you don’t currently have one you’ll need to create one. This may turn away some potential Feedly users, but if you already used Google Reader you’ll feel right at home.

  3. Matt Bernius says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    More importantly for me, they have a mobile app.

    That’s critical for me too. Or rather, I’d love it to have a “real” mobile (Android) app, versus just a mobile skin.

    I like a number of the mobile RSS readers — like Pulse — but the lack of a desktop/browser client (last I checked) is a deal breaker for me. Plus, while I like some of the GUI overlays, they sometimes can be a little much.

  4. @Matt Bernius:

    The main reason I like having a mobile app is because it’s very easy for me to check my RSS feed on my phone over coffee or a break in a meeting and, since I don’t drag my laptop every place I go, it’s just far more convenient. The ability to mark things I’d like to read later, or perhaps write a blog post about, is very useful.

  5. On another note, I still don’t understand Google decision to discontinue Reader. From some estimates I’ve seen it was one of their most popular apps outside of Gmail. I think it likely relates to the fact that they could never figure out how to turn it into a revenue stream.

  6. Matt Bernius says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Thanks for sharing your process!

    Like you, I’ve really been doing my best to move away from carrying a laptop everywhere. Between my “phablet” — 1st gen Samsung Note — and an Acer Android Tablet, the more my laptop has actually become my desktop.

    It’s far easier on my back to carry one or both of the lighter devices (and a folding bluetooth keyboard). Plus the two require carrying fewer cables and extra crap (like portable mouses, etc).

  7. Tim D. says:

    Feedly for me. (a) it’s free, (b) super-easy GR transfer, (c) works pretty well (aside from a few hiccups)

  8. DC Loser says:

    I’m stuck using IE 8.0 on my work computer. I wish I could use Feedly on it, but as much time as I am at work, I need a solution that works with the old IE browser.

  9. Eric J. says:

    Sage, on Firefox, with bookmarks synced across computers using X-Marks. Been using it for probably 10 years now. It’s the only think keeping me from switching to Chrome. Nothing on Chrome works quite like it.

    Simple layout, everything in-browser, transition from feed-to-article-to-feed without opening more tabs.

  10. trumwill says:

    I primarily use Reader because various direct RSS readers can import RSS feed links straight from Google Reader. It saves a lot of time on customization. I’m likely to switch to whichever one the direct RSS readers will let me import from.

    (I use Pulse quite regularly, as anyone who follows me on Twitter well knows. I also use Current as a reader.)

  11. Boyd says:

    Almost immediately after Google’s announcement of the impending end to Reader, I started my search for a replacement. I tried several, and none of them satisfied, including Feedly. After poking through all the reviews and recommendations I could find, it seemed to me that Feedly was going to be my best bet, giving the experience that most closely resembles Reader. Like any other change, I had to change the way I worked to accommodate the Feedly approach. I’ve gotten used to the changes at this point, and I’m generally satisfied.

    Bottom line: more eye candy and a bit less functionality to get the closest replacement for Reader.

  12. mistermix says:

    Late to this party, but nobody’s mentioned Feedbin (https://feedbin.me), my current favorite

    * Fast
    * Great, spare interface on PC that uses horizontal space well and doesn’t try to re-organize my feeds into “magazine views”
    * Easy to view entire article inline
    * Decent mobile browser interface if you’re in a pinch
    * Syncs with different IOS apps, like Reeder
    * Simple business model: $2/month
    * One developer who seems very responsive

    * No decent Android sync client yet, though my favorite (Press) says they’ll support it.
    * YouTube vids do not show inline (this is the big one at the moment)

  13. Matt Bernius says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    On another note, I still don’t understand Google decision to discontinue Reader. From some estimates I’ve seen it was one of their most popular apps outside of Gmail. I think it likely relates to the fact that they could never figure out how to turn it into a revenue stream.

    I suspect that the problem was that while it was a popular app, it:

    (a) wasn’t supplying Google with enough useful information,
    (b) wasn’t generating ad revenue,
    (c) and didn’t look good enough/had enough of an install base on tablets (see currents)

    If it had done any of the above well, it probably still work be with us. But give the fact they are pushing a different rss solution for tablets — currents — they saw Reader as cannibalizing users.

  14. john personna says:

    I’m using Feedly, but recently pruned back on feeds.

    For some topic areas I prefer the Twitter model (dip in to see what’s there, without an attempt to track it all).