Right when the bad news hit the web, MakeUseOf was quick to bring our readers information and alternatives regarding the eventual closing of Google Reader. Google Reader was my web-based RSS reader of choice and it still shocks me that they’ve come to the decision to part ways with it, but we’ve got to accept it and adjust.
Since the news first broke, several new RSS readers have surfaced online and many of them have really taken advantage of Google Reader’s shutdown. Many advertise themselves as strict alternatives to the service, tailored specifically towards allowing you to easily transfer from Google Reader to a new service by importing your data. Leaving behind Google Reader isn’t so hard when moving on to the next service is as simple as a few keys and clicks. CommaFeed and Reedah are two services that have come up since then that offer to do just that.
CommaFeed has been featured in the MakeUseOf Directory and was touched up on a bit, but I’d like to show its features in a little more depth and allow you to see how simple the transition from Google Reader to this new service actually is.
CommaFeed advertises itself as a no-bloat, minimalist RSS reader that strives to only show the user what they really want to see. Right off the bat, CommaFeed gets a big nod of approval from me because it actually offers for you to browse through the service as a demo without having to sign up for an account. It’s a hassle to sign up for something just to determine if you like it and would want to use it or not, and the demo really allows you to bypass that.
I took a quick spin through the demo and, while it mentions that some functionality is disabled, it offers everything you’d need to be able to make the decision on if CommaFeed is an RSS reader that you’d want to use or not.
Signing up for your own account is as simple as filling out the brief form. If you want to import your feeds from Google Reader, make sure you tick the box that mentions that feature. The next page of the signup screen will require that you connect CommaFeed to your Google account.
Immediately after connecting your account, all of your Google Reader feeds will be imported and it’s as if you’re back on Google Reader all over again.
Much like Google Reader, you can view your feed items as just a headline or as a headline with a summary beneath it.
You’re able to view just your unread items, mark everything as read, sort your items in ascending or descending order by date, and even do some interesting extras like use custom CSS code to alter the design of your CommaFeed page. Subscribing to a new feed is as simple as clicking the button and pasting a feed URL.
Overall, CommaFeed is one of the best alternatives to Google Reader that I’ve ever used, and I may go as far as to say it’s even better than Google Reader because of how clean and spacious the interface is. If you’re looking for an incredibly easy way to transition away from Google’s dying RSS reader, this is one of the top options.
Reedah seems tailored exclusively towards previous users of Google Reader and they go out of their way to accommodate users by allowing you to not only import your Google Reader feeds, but also sync the apps that you had connected to your Google Reader with Reedah.
Just as the signup process with CommaFeed went, you’ll need to log in through your Google account and allow Reedah to connect if you intend to import all of your existing Google Reader feeds.
Unlike with CommaFeed though, this process takes a little more time. Your feed data must be downloaded, shown in a progress bar, before you’re given access to the Reedah interface. I believe the extra time required is simply because Reedah is more comfortable showing you your feed data all at once when it has been completely imported and synced, whereas CommaFeed imports your feeds and then slowly synchronizes everything in real-time (so all of your data isn’t immediately available). Reedah also copies your article states, meaning that if an item has been marked as read in Google Reader, it will be marked as read when it is pulled to Reedah.
The interface is a lot different from both Google Reader and CommaFeed. The page is squeezed to the center of your screen which offers a little less reading space and more of a scroll-to-read style to it. By default, feed summaries are shown and your latest unread items are displayed first.
Reedah features pages, accessible in a drop-down selection box on the left-hand side of the page, that allow you to manage your subscriptions, change your account settings, import your data from Google Reader, and more. While the Reedah interface is nothing too special, it is exactly what it advertises itself as: an excellent alternative to Google Reader.
Reedah is so close to the Google Reader experience that third-party applications designed specifically for Google Reader, such as the ones mentioned in the screenshot above, work fluidly with Reedah.
Reedah offers just about everything that Google Reader brings to you, without the promise of dying within a month’s time (hopefully). It’s a respectable alternative and it can be configured in less than three minutes.
With July 1st drawing nearer, Google Reader’s days are quickly ticking away. Don’t wait until all of your data that you spent so much time organizing is gone. Find an alternative (like the two mentioned in this article) and effortlessly import your data. It’ll be like Google Reader never even left you. Let me know what you think of CommaFeed and Reedah in the comments!