Google announced last week, much to the dismay of many people, that Google Reader will be shut down on July 1st. Google Reader has been one of the most popular RSS Readers since it launched in 2005. This is a shame because Google had one of the strongest RSS readers out there and many applications that are built on Google Reader that will either need be be built around another service or shut down.
Personally, I used Google Reader for many years as my primary source of news but have recently moved away from Google Reader in favor of using Twitter as my source of news. This occurred a few weeks prior to the announcement of Google Reader shutting down. My reason for this was because while subscribing to RSS feeds was a good method of reading news, combining my news feeds into my Twitter feed has become a better solution for me. Don’t get me wrong, Google Reader was good, but there was something about the interface that made me dread reading the news that I don’t get with using Twitter as my news feeds. I subscribed to most of the same sources (blogs, news sites, etc) I had in my Google Reader in fact, I probably follow more sources now than I did with Google Reader. Many call this model”A River of News” where the news flows into one place for the reader to see. I have a to Tweetbot on all my devices to read my Twitter feeds, which syncs across the devices using iCloud so I can pickup where I left off across all my devices. Tweetbot also allows links to be saved later using Instapaper, as I do, or a variety of other services which is useful when going through the news to save articles to read later.
I prefer using Twitter and I think it works better to have it all in one feed that I know I will check frequenly. Twitter also allows interaction with the news with Retweets, Hash Tags and replies and many media organizations interact with their audiences which builds value. This is something that can’t be done as well with most traditional news readers. For those who find a single river of news too daunting, Twitter’s listing feature can be used for those who want to sort the feeds into categories, like: “Tech news” or “International News”. I don’t use this method myself, mostly because I prefer to just have one big stream of tweets I need to check.
Replacements for Google Reader:
While Google Reader isn’t gone yet, it may be time to start looking for alternatives so you are prepared for Google Reader’s inevitable end. Here are some alternatives I have found for Google Reader besides my Twitter-based solution, especially for those desiring an experience similar to Google Reader.