RIP Google Reader. Hello Feedly, Flipboard and Noowit

A Final Farewell

Thank you for stopping by.

Today, we powered down Google Reader. We understand you may not agree with this decision, but we hope you’ll come to love these alternatives as much as you loved Reader.

Sincerely,

The Google Reader Team

 

That’s the short letter you’ll see if you visit the Google Reader blog today.  It formally announces the demise of the service and provides some answers as to what will happen to user’s accounts and why it went away.

What you need to know, if you’re a Google Reader user, is that you can still get your Google Reader subscription data, which includes lists of people that you follow, items you have starred, notes you have created, and other information, via Google Takeout until 12PM PST July 15, 2013.  After that everything will be erased from Google’s server and there will be no way of retrieving it.

So why was Google Reader killed in the first place?  According to the spring cleaning post Google published back in March, though the “product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined.”  Simply put, less people are using the service than before, so Google thinks its time to bid farewell.

Now that Google Reader has said its final goodbye, what news aggregators could people turn to?

Google Reader alternatives:

 

Feedly

We mentioned Feedly as an alternative to Google Reader as soon as rumors about the service dying broke out.  Since then, Feedly has improved greatly, making itself a Google Reader doppelganger or even better.  It has added 12 million new users since Google Reader’s demise was announced, and it now has a cloud service.

You can use it on any web browser, or if you’re using Chrome, you can get the full Feedly experience by downloading the app on the Chrome Web Store

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.

If you’re a Google Reader and want to start using Feedly, check out HOW TO : Switch to Feedly from Google Reader

Flipboard

This news aggregator has been one of the top choices as a Google Reader replacement since it’s available for iOS and Android so you can consume news while on the go, reading current events on your smartphones.

The iOS app has been recently upgraded to allow users to create and share their very own magazines.  If you decide to share it publicly, other Flipboard users can read and comment on your magazine.  The redesign also comes with a new notification feature that tells users when someone likes their magazine, and also lets you subscribe to other magazines that you find interesting, but you can’t yet edit your own magazine.  It’s easy to use, you just flip things on the screen to find what you are looking for.

New oldtimers

This may sound confusing but it is what it is.  The following news aggregators have been around longer, not as news aggregators, but as an entirely different services.  I’m talking about Digg and AOL, while NewNewsWire is making a comeback.  All three services allow Google Reader users to import data from the service for a seamless transition.

Digg was known as a Reddit wannabe and with some research from asking people what they want to see in a news aggregator, it revamped itself as one.  The Digg Reader is a free app for iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, iPod touch 3rd, 4th and 5th and the iPad.   It requires iOS 6.0 or later.

AOL is regarded as one of the original .com firms that shaped the Internet to what it is today. It recently released the AOL Reader, a web based content reader that has a simple interface that should suit mobile or touchscreen devices.  You can log in using your AOL account, if that still exists, or via Facebook, Twitter or Google+.  But right now, only those with an AOL email account can request access to its beta.

As for NetNewsWire, it was the original standard bearer for RSS news readers before it relaunched as a Mac app.   The new version includes a major interface redesign that gives it a more ‘native Mac app’ appeal, and some new features that have been added such as a new share menu and a distraction-free reading mode.  The new version is still in beta and the sync feature is set to come with the final release.

The New kid on the block

The latest addition to the news aggregator race is Noowit.  Though it encountered some teething problems yesterday when some users couldn’t login, the service is now up and running just fine.  And I must say, the landing page is quite inviting.

We were fortunate enough to get a preview of the service even before it was released in public beta.  It functions much like any other news aggregator, allowing you to choose which news sources you would like to get news from and organize them by category such as business, technology, design and others.  It looks more appealing since photos take center stage instead of viewing a list of stories.

You can create your own magazine, dubbed a ‘MAG’, based on your interests and share them with your friends via  e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Google+.  You can also bookmark any article you find on the web directly into your Noowit MAG.  It has a WordPress plugin to make Noowit MAG accessible from your personal blog, and can be navigated either by scrolling, swiping if you’re using a touch-based device, or just my using your keyboard arrows.

It supports a number of languages such as Greek, Spanish, German, French, Dutch and Russian aside from English, and is optimized for use in the Chrome and Safari browsers.

Noowit states that native iOS app for iPhone and iPad, as well as an Authoring Tool, will be coming soon.

Because it is still in beta, Noowit says that it’s open to any suggestions or criticisms to make the service look and work even better.  The service is free and you can sign up by either using your Facebook account or an email account.

So which news aggregator is the best?  Much like comparing anything that has numerous identical services or products, that depends on a person’s preference.  As my colleague Mike Wheatley previously pointed out, Feedly and Flipboard are way ahead in this race, but it’s too early to tell whether they’ll manage to snap up all the ex-Google Reader users, so the newcomers still have a chance to win the race.

About Mellisa Tolentino

Mellisa is a staff writer for SiliconAngle, covering social and mobile news. She is fascinated by technology and loves imparting what she learns through her journey as a writer. Got a news story or tip? Send it to mellisa@siliconangle.com