We have less than one month until Google Reader closes its doors forever. Despite the pleas and protests, Google is unlikely to have a change of heart. The world’s most-used and successful RSS reader will cease to be on July 1, 2013.
While there are alternatives such as Feedly, many depend on Google Reader for managing feeds. There are no painless migration guarantees. Whatever options you’re considering, it’s essential to back-up the feed URLs and starred items you’ve collected during the past eight years. You won’t find much help in Reader itself, but the process isn’t difficult…
1. Log in at Google Takeout
Head to google.com/takeout and log in with the Google account ID and password you use for Reader.
2. Select Google Reader
You probably won’t need or want to download all your data (unless you’re completely abandoning Google), so hit the Choose Services tab followed by the Reader icon:
Takeout will calculate the approximate size of your archive.
3. Download Your Data
Hit the CREATE ARCHIVE button. The process should take no more than a few seconds but, if you have a considerable quantity of data, you can ask to be emailed once it’s complete.
Once created, click the blue Download button to retrieve a file named <your-email>-takeout.zip.
You can return to the Downloads tab at any time should you wish to download again.
The archive contains a Reader folder with eight files:
- subscriptions.xml — your subscriptions in OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) format. This can normally be imported into most good RSS Readers
- starred.json — starred URLs with descriptions in JSON format
- liked.json — items you liked
- notes.json — your notes about items
- following.json — users you follow
- followers.json — users following you
- shared.json — items you shared
- shared-by-followers.json — items shared by your followers
The big question is: what are the options for ex-Google Readers?
Google Reader’s demise leaves a large RSS-shaped hole on the web. Google killed many competitors and there are few alternatives which offer a great web and mobile experience backed by a reliable network infrastructure.
Personally, I’m going to continue with Google Reader until the absolute end in the deluded hope they’ll reprieve the service. However, there are a number of options I’m investigating — stay tuned for 12 Free Google Reader Alternatives on SitePoint soon.
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.