As mournfully described in verse by Justin, Google Reader has flown the coop. However, dear readers, this is not a time to cry. It is not a time to lament. It is not even a time to rise up in anger. Instead, it is a time for change.
RSS is a great tool for reading content all in one place, but is it possible that – gulp – there is something better out there? Perhaps you could collect content in a different way. Maybe you could get rid of RSS altogether and dive into a sea of entirely new waters! Could such a thing be true?
Below are just a few alternatives to Google Reader that bypass RSS and present reading material in clean, branded formats. Each one has a different fit, so check them all out and decide which ones are good for you.
Recently released by Readability, Top Reads is a website that aggregates content based on what the users of its sister service are looking at. It’s an entirely automated website based solely on numbers, but logically, it’s a no-brainer for Readability. All content is sampled from vast amounts of high quality reads, and for those of you who harken to the cleanliness of the ill-fated Google Reader, you can view all content in Readability’s paper-like format.
If you’re an iPad user, then you should definitely give NewzSocial a shot. In short, the app lets you create, follow, and share specific news streams based on whatever interests you.
Using a grid-based layout, NewzSocial allows you to select articles for reading from over 300 topics and about 14 categories, and all content is presented in a magazine-like format.
The writers here on MakeUseOf are a motley crew, but one thing that brings us all together is our love for Reddit. You may have seen plenty of articles on here about this little content aggregation site, but if you haven’t checked it out for yourself, you really should. While the front page typically publishes an odd mix of of political rants and cat pictures, you can subscribe to individual interest-based subreddits which provide user-generated links to interesting material.
On another note, if you have heard a few bad things about Reddit, you should give it a second shot. It’s probably not as corrupted as you think.
Buzzego is weird, but I like it. From the get-go, you choose the type of content you want to read based on a given set of categories. However, on Buzzego, you don’t call categories “categories”. Instead, you call them “pandas”, and yes, each category is represented by a 3D modeled panda that has a striking resemblance to Po from the acclaimed Dreamworks animated kung-fu film.
Surprisingly effective, Buzzego routes content to you in a sleek, non-distracting feed from various content sources on the web. In all truth, it does exactly what other sites do, but it has one thing other sites don’t: pandas.
FirePlug is a great mobile app that is quite similar to NewzSocial. By collecting news content from publications Internet-wide, you can have all the daily information you need right in your pocket. Even better, FirePlug connects to your Facebook, and it’s not for the same social reasons other apps may have. Instead, it republishes content from your feed, so you can merge your local and public news all in one place.
As mentioned on MakeUseOf before, FlipBoard is an app that creates your own personal magazine filled with content curated by you. As you browse the web, you select articles to be added to the virtual magazine. When you finally sit down with the app, all of your reading material is consolidated into one place and in a fancy, aesthetically-pleasing layout. If you haven’t tried FlipBoard out, give it a go.
You may very well be a hardcore RSS fan, and that’s fine. Go for it. Enjoy it. I’m not going to bash you at all. However, the above services and apps provide some pretty amazing uses, and I think it would definitely be worth trying them out. In the mean time, we’d like to hear what you think.
What other alternatives to Google Reader do you know about that we should be using? Do you believe the above services an items are top-notch products?