Earlier in February we heard rumblings of Google Reader being on the brink of death, acting rather absurdly for many users. Some reported that “read” articles keep popping up as new, and some unsubscribed feeds returned from the grave. Others thought that Google was just updating the content aggregator, hence the screw ups. But the more cynical thought the mishaps signaled impending doom. Turns out the cynics were right. About a month later, Google officially announced that Google Reader will be retired effective July 1, 2013.
Before the official announcement, we at SiliconANGLE decided to give you, our readers, 6 Alternatives to the Dying Google Reader. One of the mentioned alternatives is Feedly and some of our readers, and even some SiliconANGLE staff including myself, has grown fond of Feedly. And we’re not the only ones. Over 500,000 Google Readers found refuge in Feedly in the past few days, and the number will just keep growing as more people migrate.
So what’s so special about Feedly?
Easy to use
If you’re a Google Reader user, it’s so easy to migrate to Feedly. Just login to Feedly with your Google Reader account, and all your Google Reader feeds and categories will be imported to Feedly.
Also, Feedly is available for iOS and Android devices, though it doesn’t currently offer offline reading for articles. The reader is also available on Chrome, Safari and Firefox, but not on Internet Explorer.
Feedly developed Normandy, which is a clone of the Google Reader API running on Google App Engine. When Google Reader eventually shuts down, Feedly will transition to Normandy, which means Feedly users won’t have to worry about Feedly going away or screwing up when Google Reader goes offline. Plus, Feedly recently upgraded its bandwidth and added new servers to accommodate all the new Feedly users.
Just like Google Reader
Some people have trouble with experiencing change. Feedly seemed to have anticipated this, as they’ve created a page dedicated to people transitioning from Google Reader to Feedly. And all I can say is that it’s just like Google Reader.
Feedly has a “save for later” feature like the Google Reader star mechanism. When you hover over an article, two icons will appear, one will be for redirecting you to the page of the article, the other for bookmarking the article so you can easily find when you want to read at a later time.
To ensure a more personal experience, Feedly has tagging, just like Google Reader. You can setup your preferred tags and when you read an article, you’ll see +Tag on it where your pre-made tags can be seen. It’s quite helpful for reading articles at a later time. Tags appear on the left side, below the categories. Clicking on a tag will show you the articles you’ve tagged earlier.
Tips for RSS newbies
Not everyone on Feedly had a Google Reader account or used a content aggregator in the past. I’m sure some of you are wondering why you need a content aggregator in the first place.
For starters, it’s a great way to keep track of what’s happening in the world or around you, and it’s quite hard to do that with all the online publications available. Feedly helps you organize content and consume massive amounts of data in just a short period.
For newbies, Feedly is quite easy to use. You can sign in using your Google Account or create a new Google account.
Feedly offers a tutorial, so it’s quite easy to get the hang of things. To start, it shows you how to add new sources. You can choose from sources already available on Feedly or search other sources, like SiliconANGLE, on Feedly’s search bar.
You can create categories to organize your sources. If you’re not satisfied with your organization skills or you feel you’ve miscategorarized some sources, you can easily rearrange them by clicking on Category under your profile name on the left side. You’ll see boxes representing the various categories you’ve created and drop and drop the sources to category of your liking.
Personalization is something that makes people feel more welcomed. Though you can’t change everything about Feedly, you can alter what you see when you open it. Under Preferences, you can choose what page you see when you open Feedly – Today, All or Index, what font to use, the default language, the default view, tagging, if there should be any information on the right side of Feedly (like your Facebook Newsfeed), Twitter Module or Financial Module, and if you want to auto-mark articles as read when you’re done scrolling through the feeds. There’s even a customization key to personalize Feedly.
You can also further personalize your Feedly by changing it’s theme. Feedly offers 15 themes and selecting one will change the background color of your news aggregator. It’s not that much, but some people feel more relaxed when reading off something with a greenish hue to it.
And if you’re a social bug, you can connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts to Feedly to see what news sources your Facebook friends are using, or to see other articles shared by your social networking friends.
As for Google, though it is abandoning Google Reader, it’s likely working on an Evernote-like service dubbed as Google Keep. The news came from 1E100‘s Google+ post which found evidences for a new Google Account Service named “Portal” and signing into that service will show you a new service called Google Keep. The links for Google Keep has been removed by Google, but the other links which showed Google icons are still available. 1E100 claims that Google Keep may soon be released.
For more on Google Keep, the opportunities for Feedly and other implications of Reader’s death, see contributing editor John Casaretto, who offered his analysis on these topics during this morning’s NewsDesk broadcast with Kristin Feledy.