Thursday morning came with a massive shock for all the tech enthusiasts when Google announced via its blog that it has decided to kill the popular services of Google Reader starting from July 1st. Most of us have spent countless hours on Google Reader brushing through RSS Feeds of our favorite sites and it provided a clean and neat interface for reading everything new in your preferred field of interest.
The axe has not just fallen on Google Reader but few other services too as Google continues to revamp its services. If you are currently using Google Reader on desktop then you can export all your data using this tool. Not just desktops but with Mobile Technology gathering a rapid pace, we have spent a lot more time checking out Google Reader on our Smart Phones as well as Tablets. So, here are our top five free applications that you must consider downloading on your desktop or smart phones to let you read through and transfer your Google Reader feeds before the services are completely terminated.
Flipboard is one of the most downloaded apps both for Android and iOS. If we are being picky, Flipboard looks absolutely gorgeous on an iPad or one of the larger screen sized Android devices. It presents all your feeds in a nice magazine like layout.
You have simple gestures such as flipping pages through and turning them to move to newer content. Not just Google Reader, you can also integrate your other social networking apps such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on Flipboard and it becomes your one hub destination for all the information.
In addition to it all, you have certain Flipboard specific feeds such as for Photography or even App searches and Politics to keep you hooked on to the application for hours on end. You can also log in to your Read it later services such as Pocket and add articles to them by simply long pressing the article and clicking on the Read Later Tab from the popped up menu. Not just this, you can also easily share the articles either via E-mail or Twitter through Flipboard.
The UI of the application is really clean and you do not have to be any gadget expert or a tech guru to navigate through the application. However, one drawback of Flipboard is that it does not auto update in the background. You need to open the application for the feeds to update. Although this is a good thing as it makes sure that the app is not hogging the data and power in the background, but surely you would like to see updated feeds the moment you open the app.
It is only a mild drawback of what otherwise is a breezy and fantastic experience on both Android as well as iOS.
Pulse is another popular RSS reader which has seen tremendous improvements over the past couple of years. It has a beautifully designed UI and uses a simple swipe across gesture in the form of strips of a particular topic to display your feed.
Just like Flipboard, Pulse also has a few built in feeds which you can subscribe simply but simply clicking on Add Content bar at the bottom of the screen would take you to the selection page. Here you can pick your topic of interest from Technology, to Humor, to Politics etc. If you are interested in just adding your Google Reader account then you must swipe across to the social tab and click on Google Reader option which would be the second from top option.
It would then prompt you to enter your account details after which your feed would load and you are good to go. Just like Flipboard you can also add up your social networks such as feed from Youtube, Instagram, Flickr, Reddit etc.
Even though Pulse has a lot more options and feeds as compared to Flipboard, we did find the going in the application a little complicated. There are chances you may feel a little lost in the application and it may take a little while before you get used to it.
Also the home screen of the application displays about 9 current news and if you are using the application on a slightly smaller screen device such as iPhone then the experience can get a little cluttered. All and all even though the application is really good and you can add a lot more in Pulse when compared to Flipboard, however we found the clean interface of Flipboard much more attractive but this could be down to personal preferences.
3: Newsify: Platforms- iOS
Newsify is one of the lesser known alternatives to Google Reader, but a highly efficient one. It is currently available for iPhone only but we do hope to see it on other platforms too. Newsify is a simple clutter free application that lets you view your RSS feeds as if you were looking through a newspaper.
It has a simple UI and keeps things very simple. You can add more than one Google Reader account to the application and that is one feature we really like on it. The offline reading and image caching of the application work much better than either on Flipboard or Pulse. Even though it may not be as fancy looking as Pulse or Flipboard Newsify does a great job of pulling your feeds.
Though you cannot view updates of any of your social networks such as Facebook or Twitter you can easily share articles from the application. The application also has a wonderful night reading mode as well as a full screen mode which can be enabled from settings.
The application is highly customizable and you can change how articles appear on the front page as well as view the app in a landscape mode. Another interesting feature of the application is the ability to pull or push at the end of the article to be able to view the article.
You also get to see the unread batches on the application icon on your springboard which neither Flipboard nor Pulse provide, this is an easy way to check out the number of unread feeds you have. All in all, it is an exciting alternative to the likes of Flipboard and offers something totally different with plenty of customization, something you cannot say for many other iOS apps.
After Flipboard, Feedly is quite possibly the most popular and best alternatives to Google Reader. Not long after it was announced that Google would be pulling the plug from Reader, Feedly announced that it intends to clone the API of Google Reader to provide users a seamless transition from Google Reader to Feedly.
Feedly UI for both iPhone and Android devices looks extremely similar to Flipboard. It has a similar magazine like swipe across gesture based UI and looks extremely neat and tidy.
The experience browsing the application on the Web too is as close to Google Reader experience as we found. The mobile application is basic, does not have too many customizations but works really well and that is what matters.
You can sync the application with your Reader account, or even Facebook, Twitter or Youtube account. It is also extremely simple to share the articles across social platforms and you can also save articles to Pocket or Instapaper for reading later on.
The best thing about Feedly which perhaps is a short coming of Flipboard and other alternatives is that it keeps the feeds on the Web in sync with your smart phone. As a result you can browse your feeds both on your smart phone or in your Browser and still not miss out on any news. Since Flipboard does not have a dedicated Web app, we feel Feedly is a lot more handy if you want to do things via your Desktop.
You can simply short swipe across an article if you have read it to mark it as Read or long swipe the entire card to mark all the feeds present as Read. This is actually a really handy feature as you can mark more than one feed as read especially for those articles that you might not be most interested in. Overall, the experience on Feedly is wonderful and once again the ease of use of the application is commendable both on mobile and web. The articles refresh automatically when you open the application just like they do on Flipboard. You can pretty much choose either of the applications, but in case you own a Kindle device and use Desktop to read your feeds then Feedly is your best bet as a Google Reader alternative.
If you want a Google alternative to Google Reader then Google Currents is the answer for both Android and iOS platforms. Google Currents was launched initially on Android devices when it did not have Flipboard, so back in the day it was the answer to Flipboard which was an iOS exclusive application.
Since then, the application has seen various changes, undergone plenty of face lift and is now available for both Android and iOS. Just like Flipboard, Currents uses a magazine like UI to help users navigate through their feeds but offers a lot of features that above mentioned apps do not.
The application has a built in translator which supports up to 44 languages and has a list of publishers such as Forbes which produce content for the app. Since this application is by Google themselves, you get access to breaking news from different sections such as Technology, Fashion, Politics etc as and when they occur. The Android version does come with a handy widget too.
You can simply save articles too for reading later if you feel you want to go through it by clicking the star icon again and there is a section especially made on the home screen of the app to let you view your saved articles. Google Currents uses lesser gestures too as compared to Flipboard or Feedly.
Overall, the UI is clean and easy to navigate and offers something pleasantly different to most of the other alternatives and we must admit is one of the best alternatives to Google Reader.
We hope these five applications would soften the blow that Google has stuck by terminating the services of Google Reader. For any queries or comments feel free to use the section below.