Saturday, March 16, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader, Hello Feedly

I have no idea how many of my friends use an RSS reader. RSS is a geekonym (my made-up word for a geek's acronym) for Really Simple Syndication. An RSS reader gathers, in one place, posts from blogs to which one has subscribed — in other words, instead of bookmarking every blog you want to read, you subscribe to those blogs in your RSS reader and you can find all the blogs in one place. It's simple and convenient. I have used Google Reader for several years. It lists the blogs to which I subscribe, shows me how many posts on each I haven't read, shows me a preview, and allows me to go to the full blog post if I want. Simple, easy, and it was free.

On Wednesday, Google dropped a bombshell for users of Google Reader by announcing the they will shut it down effective 1 July 2013 — A second spring of cleaning

Devastated? No. Unhappy? Yes. I immediately went on the search for a new RSS reader. I checked out the following — all are browser-based and not stand-alone applications:

  • Newsblur — the problem with Newsblur is that in the free version, I can only subscribe to 12 blogs. To have unlimited subscriptions, I have to pony up $24 per year — not bad and the demise of Google Reader may be an indicator that a paid service is the way to go. But, I also found that Newsblur hung up more than once while I was trying to import my 12 blog subscriptions from Google Reader.
  • The Old Reader — Well, frankly, I can't test The Old Reader. I set up the account yesterday and tried to import the OPML file that I exported from Google Reader. Still today, The Old Reader says that they've had a massive influx of new users, their servers are overwhelmed, and my import is in the queue. (OPML is another geekonym for Outline Processor Markup Language — yeah, like you wanted to know that!)
  • Feedly — Simple, free, unlimited subscriptions, and there are versions for Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Android, and iOS. An article on their blog, Transitioning from Google Reader to feedly, was very helpful. I was able to import my blog subscriptions directly from Google Reader without using an OPML file and Feeldy promises a seamless transition to their own proprietary service once Google Reader shuts down. Feedly also offers several different ways to view your subscribed blogs — as a list of clickable headlines, in a magazine-like layout with graphics and post previews, the full post. I'm still learning my way around, but for now, Feedly is my choice — and frankly, I'm unlikely to change. In fact, as of today, I don't plan to go back to Google Reader, even during the next 3 1/2 months before Google shuts it down.
There are other options available, some free and some paid.
  • If you currently use Google Reader, what do you plan to use after 1 July?
Since this is a blog that was started about running — I ran today. It was only 3.4 miles and included several walking breaks, so it was slow. But, I was out there. What about you?

Run well, y'all,
Bob Allen
Nairobi, Kenya
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