If you’re active on the interwebs, there’s a huge chance you use Google Reader – Google’s content aggregator to help you manage web feeds and stay on top of all things digital. But not all Google products last the test of time. We’ve seen several useful Google services fall to the wayside, like the infamous Google Wave, among others.
There’s been rumblings of Google Reader being shut down, and while the feed aggregator seems like an integral function for a significant portion of web users out there, Reader may be nearing the end of the line. Of course, everything was a mere rumor until this past weekend, as reports emerge of user issues with Reader. Some users have reported old feeds popping up as new material, and unsubscribed feeds seemed to have returned from the grave.
A plea for Google+?
Some say it’s Google’s way of shifting focus to Google+. The search giant is pushing for news consumption via social media, the medium of choice for millions of web users. RSS has become a specialized technology reserved for the more savvy user base.
Google has yet to officially release a statement regarding the status of Google Reader, and checking the Google Reader blog doesn’t help either. The last post written on the blog site was from October 31, 2011.
At least someone on the Google Reader forum acknowledged the issue.
“The Google Reader team has been notified and someone will be looking into this,” said a Googler on the Google Reader forum.
If Google Reader is indeed on its deathbed, what could people use instead?
Six Alternatives to Google Reader
A personalized dashboard publishing platform for Web and digital life aggregation, organized into tabs that contain user-defined modules. It features built-in modules that include an RSS/Atom feed reader, local weather forecasts, a calendar supporting iCal, bookmarks, notes, to-do lists, multiple searches, support for POP3, IMAP4 email as well as several webmail providers such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and AOL Mail, as well as web storage like Box.net. It also supports Delicious, Meebo, and Flickr. There’s also a built-in audio player that supports podcasts.
A news aggregator or RSS feed reader for web browsers as well as mobile devices running on iOS and Android platforms. It aggregates news from different online sources which the user can customize and share with their peers. Users can customize content pulled by Feedly to include personal preference, as well as alter the interface by changing the layout, color, and categorization of articles based on sources, likes, and those referred to by other users.
Not only is Flipboard an RSS reader, but it’s highly social as well. Flipboard is known for its aesthetic appeal, turning your social feeds into a digital magazine. But to further customize your content, you can add feeds from websites to be included in your daily reading experience. Available on iPad, Flipboard now has an Android version. Flipboard is primarily a mobile tool, and is leading the way for consumer-oriented RSS feed consumption through usability and design.
A personal news reader that brings people together to talk about anything under the sun. It is available for web browsers, and iOS and Android platform. It brings real-time RSS and allows users to view the article on the original site, share stories with friends, and highlight stories that you are interested in as well as hiding the ones that you can’t be bothered with.
Probably the best RSS reader for the Windows platform that features a user-friendly interface, making content discovery quick. It features tagging so you can assign keywords to items with the goal of making things easier to classify and locate later. You can program FeedDemon to inform you when a tag appears in any feed you are subscribed to, as well as if it appears on feeds you aren’t subscribed to. It can also automatically download audio files of feeds you are subscribed to and save it on your iPod or other media devices.
A free RSS news aggregation solution that provides robust features in an intuitive, user-friendly environment. It comes with the Feedreader Browser, which allows you to setup feeds you want to subscribe to. And then there’s the Feedreader online feature that allows you to view subscribed feeds everywhere you go, using any device, without having to install or setup anything– just log in with your FeedReader account.