June 18, 2013, 6:00 AM —
We have less than two weeks before Google Reader shuts down. Do you have a plan yet?
I must confess, I still don't. At least not one I'm 100% comfortable with. Right now my best hope lies with Feedly. I'm not crazy about Feedly's native interface but their 'Normandy' backend is what a bunch of popular apps will be using going forward, including gReader Pro which is my favorite on Android. Other apps that will be powered by Feedly include Reeder (iOS, OSX), Press (Android), NextGen Reader (Windows 8, Windows Phone) and Newsify (iOS).
In theory at least, all these apps will sync with Normandy so you can start on your Android phone and read a few articles, then later pick up where you left off on your iPad to do a few more, then finally sit down at your Windows 8 machine to polish off your unread articles for the day. That's exactly the experience I want and need from an RSS reader.
Feedly has just started migrating people from Google Reader's back end to Normandy. If you're using Feedly you should read the blog post about the transition so you'll know what to expect. For more on Normandy and Feedly's work with app developers, see this roadmap post from earlier this month.
But there are other options out there. CommaFeed is getting a lot of attention in my circles. It feels like Google Reader and if I was only concerned with a browser-based solution I might be going with it. The service is mobile-browser friendly but as far as I know they don't have apps yet. They're also suffering through some growing pains, but I'm sure they'll get that sorted out soon. But still, well worth a look if you want a fast, no-frills way of churning through a large number of feeds. CommaFeed also has good sharing/saving options, supporting 'delayed reading' services like InstaPaper and Pocket, among others.
The Old Reader is another alternative that's really popular, but again, they don't have any mobile apps yet, and as far as my limited testing revealed, no easy way to push content to delayed reading services.
NewsBlur is another strong contender. It has mobile apps for both iOS and Android, and they support pushing content to delayed reading services. The web version's preferences ask you what 'Sharing Services' you want to use but so far I haven't figured out how to actually use them. There's a "Share this Story" on every item but it seems to only share within the Newsblur ecosystem. I'm probably just over-looking an icon somewhere.
Facebook is supposed to have some big announcement on Thursday and some pundits are predicting they'll unveil a Reader replacement. We'll have to wait and see.
And finally Digg said, shortly after Google announced the Reader shutdown, that they would be building an RSS reader as well. Yesterday they announced that version 1 will start rolling out next week and that everyone would have access by June 26th. That is, presumably, for the web version because they say that in the 60 days after launch they'll be focusing on an Android app and integration with third party apps, among other things. Not mentioned is an iOS app which suggest that either iOS will be supported at launch, or someone left an item off the bullet list. I can't imagine they'd skip the iOS app.
I'm very interested to see what Digg has come up with, but I can't wait two months for an Android app, so it too is off the table for July 1st.
So I feel like Feedly is my best choice, with Newsblur as a runner-up. I'm hoping that Feedly's Normandy service is up to the task at hand, and I'm going to have to just get used to their web interface, I suppose. I'm picking Feedly over Newsblur because it means I can keep my existing Android app. I do have Reeder on my iPad and even though it isn't my favorite app (I like Mr. Reader better) it's definitely a capable piece of software.
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.