12 Free Google Reader Alternatives

By Craig Buckler
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Many of us don’t want Google Reader to die but it’s time to face reality. Google is abandoning the service on July 1, 2013 and no amount of pleading will dissuade them. It’s a huge blow for those who depend on the service such as journalists and people who prefer concise news feeds.

Google Reader may have been late to the party but it killed the market for commercial and ad-based RSS readers. Fortunately, some survived and a few new players have arrived…

Desktop and Mobile App RSS Readers

There are number of desktop programs, mobile apps and browser add-ons for viewing RSS feeds:

Feedly has probably gained the most from Reader’s demise. It’s available as a Firefox add-on and an app for Android and iOS. However, it currently depends on Google Reader’s back-end so there could be issues on July 1.

Pulse will import Google and other RSS feeds but it doesn’t feel quite like other readers. It’s primarily an iOS and Android app — an early web version is available although I found it a little unstable.

RSSOwl is a multi-platform Java-based desktop application. It’s open source and has many powerful features including synchronization facilities. However, synchronization uses the Google Reader API so it may not remain an option much longer.

Another Firefox add-on which looks good and imports Google XML subscriptions. However, there’s no synchronization between different installations.

If you use Opera’s email client, you’ll be pleased to hear there’s a built-in RSS Reader. Whether this remains following Blink integration is another matter.

I’m not keen on OS-based RSS Reader applications: you won’t always be at your PC and cross-device synchronization can be difficult. Fortunately, there are a few…

Web-based RSS Readers

The alternatives include:

Ironically, Bloglines was Google Reader’s biggest causality. The service is back with new owners and offers a similar Google-like summary of headlines and a reasonable mobile experience.

InoReader is the closest to a Google Reader experience, especially since you can sign up using your Google Account and import all feeds and starred articles with a single click. The mobile site works well, but it’s no match for the speed of a native app. InoReader is my favorite web-based application at this time.

The Old Reader
I’m not sure about the name, but The Old Reader provides a good-looking interface, easy sign-up, feed import and a responsive design for mobile. It’s a beta product and a little buggy but remains usable.

Comma Feed
A lightweight reader which looks similar — but better — than The Old Reader. It also provides a Google importer and a responsive view for mobile devices.

Good Noows
Good Noows has been around some time and is more attractive than Bloglines with a variety of feed viewing options. However, it’s a heavier application and doesn’t work well on mobile.

NewsBlur’s servers suffered when Google announced Reader’s death but the service seems stable now. The website is supplemented by mobile apps but you’ll need to pay a subscription to unlock some restrictions.

MultiPLX is a new (beta) product which offers Google Reader import and list or card views. It looks interesting, but stability may be a concern for a little while.

Nah — Any Other Options?

I’m yet to be convinced any of these are as good as Google Reader on multiple devices. Several of the OS-based apps lack synchronization or attempt to present glossy magazine style layouts. Some of the web alternatives are better but whether they have a long-term future remains to be seen.

One of my current favorites is Tiny Tiny RSS. It’s an open source PHP and MySQL/PostgreSQL application you need to host yourself. Installation is reasonably straight-forward assuming you’re comfortable configuring databases and cron jobs. It imports Google’s XML file and there are several Android apps which can connect to your server.

Tiny Tiny RSS is a reasonable alternative to Google Reader and, even if development ceased, there’s no danger your service will stop working.

There’s one chink of light in the gloom following Google Reader’s expiration: it will open the market to more competitors. Companies including Digg are frantically polishing their own RSS Readers in an attempt to entice those from Google. This list may be very different in a few months.

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  • cpradio

    To be fair, Feedly has developed their own API (Normady) that will seamlessly replace the dependency on Google Reader’s API/back-end. They have advertised this from the very announcement of Google Reader being shutdown, so how you may have missed that, I have no idea…
    Source: http://blog.feedly.com/2013/03/14/google-reader/

  • David
  • Dilip Nikam

    Thanks for sharing this helpful information

    NIce work done…!

  • Feedly is web-based and honestly very good, maybe the closer to Google reader.

  • Stacy

    So far, this is the best compilation I’ve seen of Reader alternatives. Thanks!!

    • Thanks Stacy. I’ve been searching for my own replacement so have been trying as many as possible. I still haven’t found anything which matches Google Reader for speed and usability across desktop and mobile platforms, though. I’m less worried than I was a few weeks ago, though!

  • Heath

    I’m using Netvibes and like it, though it does not have a moblie app yet.

    • Bloglines appears to be powered by Netvibes.

  • JediCharles

    The Windows 8 News app also reads RSS.

  • I switched to NewsBlur and am loving it. It’s not free, but it’s quite inexpensive ($24 / year) and has a pretty nice UI.

  • shar

    I think you should mention some of these like Feedly display ads, and paid premium accounts are on the way,
    this will give us a perspective of where we are headed after migrating.

  • Have you seen http://Readable.cc? It’s very basic (great for reading) and open-source!

  • If you are looking for a simple, content-focused reader, check out Feed Fiend. This is a bit of a self-promotion, because I own Feed Fiend, but I really believe you will like it. It is focused on simplicity. You won’t find a lot of distracting graphics and buttons on Feed Fiend. I also believe in choice, which is why Feed Fiend doesn’t alter your feeds. Some readers will try to guess what you want to read, but not Feed Fiend. The best person to decide what you want to read is you.

    It is currently in beta testing, but it has a long term future ahead. And yes, you can import your feeds from Google Reader.


  • Ray J

    I’ve been using FeedRebel.com, it’s free and the UI is great, I just wish they had a iPhone version

  • Bred

    http://www.feedsbundle.com is a nice reader

    • That’s an interesting one. My only hesitations…

      1. It appears to show the linked page rather than a summary first.

      2. It’s cookie-based. While it doesn’t require registration, it means feeds cannot be synchronized across two or more devices/browsers. Also, wiping your cookies or having them expire will remove your feeds.

      But it’s definitely a reasonable option if you only have a couple of feeds and don’t require anything too sophisticated.

  • feedly – One vote from me, easy and nice to use. Almost looks like flipboard though ;)

  • Tom

    Has anyone try Ridly? http://www.ridly.net, they has a simple and clean website, and the native app is cool too.

  • There’s a few more Reader alternatives at https://starthq.com/apps/?q=reader

    • Thanks Oleg – there are some interesting ones in there I hadn’t seen before.

  • momos

    Newsfire is great on mac! Waiting for a refresh, but even without the refresh, the best rss-reader around.

  • Lor

    There is one more, you can check out here: http://www.feedstripes.com

    demo video:

    What do you think about it?

  • Craig

    Check out Waurb as a different option. http://www.waurb.com

    Let me know what you think!

  • glace

    I officially switched to g2reader. It’s like feedly but web-based, and it’s fast. Loving it!

  • Jim

    Could someone please tell me what the pros and cons are between, Desktop and Mobile App RSS Readers V’s Web based RSS Readers? I don’t know want the differences are. Am currently using Feedly on an iMac and looks ok to me.

    • Simply speaking:

      1. A desktop / app-based reader is installed and works on your device. You provide the feeds and it’ll fetch them when you have the app running. If you installed it elsewhere, neither app would know you’d marked as article as read in the other.

      2. A web-based reader is fully online. You can access from any suitable device — you’re effectively using a single application. Mark an article as ‘read’ and it’ll appear that way everywhere.

      There is some overlap. For example, Google Reader has a smartphone app which uses the back-end web services but presents articles using the native OS presentation APIs. Some desktop/app readers can also use web services to implement synchronization — unfortunately many depend on Google.

  • Alastair

    Some good options here but I really don’t agree with your comment regarding OS-based apps and cross-device syncronisation. I’ve been using Reeder (reederapp.com) for some time now. As far as I’m concerned it’s the best way to read and manage RSS subscriptions. I have it on my Mac, my iPhone and my iPad – the cross device syncronisation is simple and seamless. Obviously it’s using Google Reader in the background so what the developer is going to offer after 1st July I have no idea. I’m hoping I won’t need to change my RSS management app though.

    • The reason it’s seamless is because it uses Google Reader! Without that (or a similar web service) you wouldn’t have feed synchronization on an OS-based app.

  • Hi Craig, thanks for the article. I rather prefer to reach some solutions which are beyond the promoted top solutions. It’s like why not to give them a chance? After trying a bunch of popular solutions, I decided to stay with a smaller one – Feedreader Online. This web-based service is not very powerful, but light and neat (I use it is as a web app on my ipad and it performs well enough), and probably not well-debugged yet, but their support team swiftly responds to my bug reports and suggestions. Well, they have much work to do, but it is cool to collaborate with them so far: feedreader.com/online

  • John Saunders

    You have forgotten SilverReader which I use.
    It is 5x faster than Feedly or any other alternative and has a lot of cool features that others don’t have like full HTTPS support or custom accounts.

    I recommend that you add it to your list and check out how it looks like http://silverreader.com

    • My powers of premonition must be failing — SilverReader was launched two weeks after this article was published!

      However, it is very good — one of the cleanest and slickest I’ve seen and better than Digg’s new reader. Shame there’s no mobile view/app, but I hope that’s coming.

  • Hi, Thanks for the great post. I like feedly. Its very best indesign and very easy to handle. There are many new readers are coming in market. Recently digg Started Its digg Reader which is a good start. Here are some alternatives to help you. http://www.diggbloggers.com/2013/07/10-google-reader-alternatives-that-will.html I belive Feedly is best and others such as newsblur/ pulse are also worth a try. If you are looking for Browser friendly then Aol reader , Tiny Tiny RSS , Feedbin , Yoleo is best options.

  • Elliot

    Feedly is too bloated for me and Newsblur too limited. I settled on Simple RSS