As I’m sure most of you know by now, Google Reader is being shut down. With the service gone and our feeds exported — you did export them, right? — it’s time to find other ways to get our RSS Feeds and news fix. Or maybe you’re new to the RSS game and wondering about the best way to get started now that Google Reader is gone.
Well, fear not, we’re here to help you out. Our colleagues at Web.AppStorm published a fantastic article detailing five great online RSS services you ought to try but we’ve also compiled an exhaustive list of great RSS Readers and news solutions specifically available for your Android device. Whether you’re new to RSS or a seasoned veteran, this list should get some ideas generating and help you move on from Google Reader.
There are several apps that aren’t necessarily traditional RSS readers, but can still help you find great reading material. Maybe you don’t need RSS or maybe you just want a great way to discover fantastic content without having to look for it. These apps should do the trick.
Google Currents is one of those services that hasn’t gained as much traffic as some of the other Google services, but thanks to Google’s powerful search, it’s one of the best ways to discover the biggest breaking global news. The app is fantastic on Android phones and tablets, as is expected with Google, and it makes it easy to both subscribe to popular news sources and discover new ones.
Flipboard is my personal favorite among the curators. It’s got my preferred design and its digital page flipping is simply unforgettable. It’s cross-platform for both Android and iOS, and recently gave users the ability to create and publish their own magazines, complete with potential subscriptions. It’s one of the first things I install on every new device, and whether you need to track your RSS feeds or not, Flipboard is worth using for user-created magazines alone.
Taptu is different in that, instead of being the massive feed subscription that Google Reader was, it tries to organize your interests and is best used by lightweight RSS users instead of junkies. Taptu uses a DJ feature to mix your interests up and make them easily categorized, but importing your Google Reader data is a bit of a pain. Taptu is designed to be more of a completely fresh start for casual readers, so if you’re one of them, Taptu is worth trying.
Price: Free Requires: 2.1 and up Market Link: Taptu Developer: Taptu
Pulse has a handy-dandy Google Reader service, but might best be known as the Apple Design Winner of 2011. These guys have indeed crafted a beautiful app that even Steve Jobs thought was wonderful — and he went so far as to say so during an iPad keynote. Pulse is cross-platform, user-friendly and supports many of the services we already rely on, like Pocket and Instapaper. Not only that, but it’s a great website discovery service. It’s hard not to recommend it.
When I tried EldonReader, my interest was quickly dissuaded by its odd website. Its Android app is an improvement, but I still think it makes a better curation service than it does an actual RSS reader. It tries to reinvent the RSS language we’re all used to, adding bookmarks to the list instead of stars and incorporating its own attempt at a Read Later service. EldonReader isn’t an app I’d recommend to those looking to replace Google Reader, but it’s another should-try for people new to the game or those of us wanting to start completely fresh.
News360 is a downright beautiful, elegant way to keep up with news feeds on phones and tablets alike. The app is truly cross-compatible in the sense that it not only supports Android and iOS, but also Windows devices. What makes News360 unique is that it’s an intelligent app: It learns what you like to read as you use it. With time, the app becomes tailor-made specifically to your tastes, which makes it one of the most interesting curation-style apps available today.
Feedly [read the full Web.Appstorm review] has quickly become the most popular Google Reader alternative around. It offered an easy one-click import of Google Reader and kept most of what made that service so popular — including similar keyboard shortcuts! The web service uses a clean, easy-to-use layout that offers lots of simple customization. What makes Feedly so interesting, however, is that it not only has its own great apps, but a very open API. And in a lot of ways, Feedly is already way nicer than Google Reader ever was.
The only real warning I could give about Feedly is that there is no way to export your feeds right now, so you’re locked in to the service even if you want to try something else. The developers say exporting data is on their roadmap, but if it never happens, don’t say we didn’t warn you. If you’re switching to Feedly, give some of these Android apps a whirl.
The stock Feedly app for Android gets a lot of things right. It works great on any device, but is custom tailored for 4″, 7″ and 10″ screens (read: the Nexus family). It’s not as beautiful as apps like Reeder for iOS, but it’s highly functional and — even better — completely free. It comes with all the benefits that being made by the first-party developer always come with: it’s fast, reliable, feature-packed and should always get new features implemented fast.
Price: Free Requires: 2.2 and up Market Link: Feedly Developer: Feedly
Press has my vote for the best RSS client on Android. It has a beautiful design and loads of functionality that really put it beyond any other app out there, including support for offline reading. A special amount of care has been put into the little things, like animations when jumping through articles. Press also has its own widgets, DashClock integration and is suitable for phones and tablets. Not only that, but the app integrates perfectly with Feedly, Feed Wrangler, Feedbin and soon, Fever — more on those later.
With Google Reader’s demise, gReader now supports Feedly Cloud. The app is jam-packed with tons of features and supports almost every major third-party service you could imagine, including Pocket, Readability and Instapaper. It even has podcast streaming built-in, which is a nice touch for people who want to use it as an all-in-one solution for their subscription needs.
Another unique feature is its ability to search inside any article or feed — a feature even Feedly Cloud hasn’t implemented yet — so you can always find that one article you read a while back. gReader is also tablet optimized and, of course, it has a widget. The pro version has better podcast management and is ad-free.
Price: Free/$4.99 for pro Requires: 2.1 and up Market Link: gReader Developer: noinnion
FeedMe is a really simple RSS reader for Feedly. Unlike some of the other apps, the user interface is stripped down, which I think makes reading easier. It removes the clutter of the official Feedly app and pares the interface down to its essentials. FeedMe supports Pocket and Instapaper, has three themes to choose from and lets you star and tag posts. Those of us who relied on Google Reader’s tag feature might want to check it out. FeedMe is free and doesn’t have ads. Not only that, but it also supports offline reading.
Price: Free Requires: 2.1 and up Market Link: FeedMe Developer: dataegg
Many other Google Reader third-party Android clients have also switched to Feedly’s API, including Reader and D7 Google Reader.
Other RSS Services
Whether Feedly doesn’t hit the right notes with you, or whether you prefer to use a paid service that will likely stick around, there’s a wealth of RSS options that are currently supported on Android.
Newsblur [read the service's full review on Web.Appstorm] is a proprietary piece of software that has come up to replace Google Reader. By proprietary, I mean it’s a closed system and requires using the first-party Newsblur app on the web, iOS and Android. It has no available API that a developer could include in a third-party app, at least not yet, which makes it similar to apps like NetNewsWire for Mac.
Newsblur is a free service for up to 64 subscriptions, but then it’s $24 a year — certainly not a bad price, but not the best I’ve seen either. It’s free to check out, so there’s no harm in giving it a shot.
Fever [read the service's full review on Web.Appstorm] is the famous self-hosted RSS reader for tech geeks. You’ve probably heard of it many times: it has a one-time purchase fee of $30 and can be installed on your own servers without much hassle. I don’t use it, but many people I know do and they love it. The service is maintained by Shaun Inman, who’s currently behind in development thanks to other business obligations and some family matters, but for what it’s worth, I expect the service to continue growing.
Fever takes a look through your RSS feeds, finds the hottest articles, and can put them near the top of a Hot List for your reading pleasure. Fever is supported by Android apps like Chills and Meltdown, and the Press team says they’re integrating the service soon as well.
Feedbin [read the service's full review on Web.Appstorm] is a subscription-based service that costs $2 per month, a small and easy number for many of us to handle. For a while, the service was having trouble keeping up with all the new subscribers and was responding slowly. Feedbin was recently moved to new servers, which should make it really zippy.
Feedbin doesn’t require your own hosting or anything like that. As far as a feature list goes, it’s simple and very similar to Google Reader itself. For those reasons, I’m considering switching to it. As for Android, Feedbin is right now compatible with Press, Deer Reader and a Feedbin Reader BETA app.
Tiny Tiny RSS epitomizes everything people love about products that run on Google’s services: it’s an open source RSS feeder that works like Fever and requires web hosting. But because it’s open source, anybody can change the code or build their own app for it. It’s a really cool idea for developers, and I’m interested in seeing what happens with it and what kind of apps the community builds.
Feed Wrangler [read the service's full review on Web.Appstorm], the service that I’m personally using, is $19 per year and created by an iOS developer named David Smith. It’s fast and reliable, but what I like the most about it is that I’m guaranteed it’ll still be around this time next year thanks to my subscription.
Feed Wrangler’s twist on RSS Reading is that it supports Smart Streams, which are similar to folders but based on search terms. I’ve used them to create basic folders for some of my feeds (like my AppStorm feeds), but admittedly, I do miss having basic folders. Feed Wrangler is supported in Press, which is just another reason to pick up the app, but it has an incredibly open API which makes it easy for almost any developer to pick up — and a lot reportedly are. In case you’re wondering, if I was to switch to any other service from Feed Wrangler, I’d choose Feedbin.
Here are some other RSS services with Android apps released, in beta, or potentially coming: • Ridly is in beta and currently working with Reader on Android • The Old Reader has an optimized website for mobile devices and an open API so third-party apps might be coming soon • Bloglovin is more visually oriented and has an Android app • FeedHQ has an open API so third-party apps could be coming soon • Rolio has a first-party Android app in the pipeline • Bazqux is currently integrated with the beta Android app News+ from the maker of gReader.
Local RSS Readers
Sometimes, you don’t need apps that sync with web services or other devices, and you just want to get your reading done on your Android phone or tablet. Here are some local RSS readers for Android.
Aggregator isn’t pretty, but it is functional and does do the basic job of aggregating your RSS feeds. What I like about it, despite its lacking visuals, is that it offers support all the way back to Android 1.6. It requires importing an OPML file, and doesn’t sync directly with Google Reader (of course) or any other online service, but once you get it set up, it should work locally on your phone as you’d expect.
Android Rivers is the kind of software that deserves kudos for daring to be different. Instead of relying on cloud sync like most RSS readers, there is none. Instead of saving every single article for you to read, it just presents what’s recent. Android Rivers is like a Twitter for RSS feeds.
If you have 1,000 subscriptions, this is an app you might be interested in: skim through your news feeds, read the important ones or listen to pressing podcasts, send the long articles to Readability or Pocket and then move on. The app has no ads, no pro-purchase tricks and no login. Color me impressed.
The services and apps mentioned above should help you move on after Google Reader’s demise. There’s a lot of choice, many different approaches to RSS and news reading, and most of the companies have worked quickly and relentlessly to be ready before Reader shuts down, but have also promised a lot of innovation once the dust settles.
Did we miss any other important RSS and news service or Android app? Did you decide what option you’ll be using to replace Google Reader? Let us know in the comments!