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July 9, 2013

Google Reader is Gone… Now What?

Last week I talked about Google Reader being another fond Google memory.  If you are still interested in following your favorite RSS Feeds, what can you use to replace this great application?  If you have already substituted it with some other “feed reader” let me know what it is and how you like it.  If you have not yet replaced it…read on.

There are many other readers on the internet which have been recommended to be good replacements for Reader.  I have tried numerous quantities of them.  I will not mention those which failed my examination; however, there are several that stand out as at least “OK.”  However, so far none have been as simple and as easy to use as Google Reader.  I am still looking but here is what I have discovered thus far.

There are a couple of things my new, best reader has to have and one is a clean user interface.  I do not want something that looks like a magazine, I just want simple.  Next, it has to be easy to add new feeds to and easy to navigate from one article to the next.  Finally, and maybe most importantly, it should have a website and android presence.  That way I can read it as my morning “paper” on my phone or tablet. Later for lunch at work I can continue where I left off on my browser.

imageOne reader that gets an honorable mention from me is “Feedly” at feedly.com.  This one has been around awhile but after the news of GR dying off, they beefed up their servers to take the extra business coming from x-Google Reader-users.  Of course, this beef up was pretty much universal with all RSS Readers after Google’s announcement.  Some of the companies have done well keeping up with the new, high demand. Feedly is one that has done well with meeting all of my “needs” mentioned previously.

http://www.iphonehacks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/newsblur-icon.jpgThe next one I like is, “Newsblur” (newsblur.com). It has all of the features I look for except it is a little clunky to navigate. To me it looks sloppy and disorganized, but it works very well and has apps for all the regular platforms.

imageI guess I should mention Google’s substitute, Currents…well, I did last week and nothing has changed. To quote myself, “…it is nowhere near as straightforward or easy to read and navigate as the old version.”  Personally, I have tested this one for you and I would (believe me) skip it were I you.  Did I mention that is also updates very slowly?

imageNext, “The Old Reader” has a great UI for the web but lacks versions for Android and iPhone.  There is an “unofficial” Android version of TheOldReader.com at Google Play.  It is in its infancy and is not ready for prime-time.  The web version, if that is all you need, is great and I recommend it for your browser only.  The person who designed this one said they just wanted to replace GR with a very close duplicate.  He is close but not exact.

The readers mentioned above are those I prefer at this time; however, I will keep searching for the ultimate successor to Google Reader.

Now two honorable mentions.  First is Pulse at pulse.me.  It has a very good reader for Android and the iPhone platform and a very well laid out website reader as well.  This one did not make one of my favorites since it is “very graphically” integrated which you may really appreciate.  I guess I am just boring and enjoy reading only a title and a line or two about an article when choosing if I wish to read it.  With Pulse the graphics for the feeds are the main attraction.  Another which is similar to Pulse is Flipboard at flipboard.com.  Again, I am not opposed to these types of readers.  They are just not my preference.

http://appshopper.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/pulse-icon-2.png          http://scottkleinberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/flipboard-icon.jpg

Be warned, “Users preferences and experiences may vary.”  Especially with all of the readers constantly being revised in order to keep up with users’ requests.

Let me know what you find as you continue the hunt for the best replacement.

July 2, 2013

Google Reader is Now History

Yes, just two days ago Google Reader (that well known and beloved RSS feed reader) was removed from the Google stables.  Google announced it in March of this year and I have already ranted about the unfairness of it all, the degradation, and the sadness that has overcome us all…so enough of that, let’s get over it and move on. 

Google - RIPIf you were a Google Reader user you know how simply and easily it provided you with the latest information from the websites you actually liked to read.  It was uncomplicated, easy to use and worked very well.  Since the announcement was made in March of this year you have been searching for a replacement.  And now I will tell how you should proceed.

Well, OK, not really but I do have a couple of thoughts.  First, Google basically mislead us all.   The have created a new Reader, “Google Currents,” which is very similar to the original with several exceptions, ok it really is not the same.  They call it "Awesome," "Terrific," "Exciting," etc.  I call it harder to use, more difficult to add your RSS feeds to, more modern – meaning many more graphics, and heavier on bandwidth and pretty flare. Sorry, it is nowhere near as straightforward or easy to read and navigate as the old version. 

You have to pick from Google’s list of feeds which are laid out by topic.  You can also search by author’s name, feed title, etc.  For instance, before I wrote this column I set up my own Double Clicks Currents site.  If you would like to add it to your Currents you first need to install Google Currents.  Oh, did I mention that it is only available on Android and Apple devices?  Did you notice that last sentence where I left out your PC?  Correct, you cannot read your articles on your own computer.  What is up with that?  With Google Reader you could read some on your smart phone, then on your computer hours/days/months later and go back to your smaller device to read the remainder.  Now you only have your smartphones and tablets; that seems like a big step backward to me.

Currents and Double ClicksOK, back to adding my "feed" to your device.  Once you have Currents installed look to the top and click on "Add Subscription" and scroll through the lists (Double Clicks is not there, yet but maybe it will be by the time you read this) click and add what you wish.  To add my site, click the search icon, yes the ever present magnifying glass, and search for either "Ron Doyle" or "Double Clicks."  That should lead you to one of my articles. Right now the only ones are under those search terms.  Click on one of them and choose Add Subscription.  It will then be added to your growing list of interesting reads. 

There are many other things you can do with Currents but there is not enough space to explain it to you here.  Like I said it is not easy to operate but if you search for something like, "How do I do ???? on Google Currents" you will get more help.

Stay tuned for some more suggestions next week.

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