On July 1, 2013, Google Reader will be shutting down for good. It seems like forever ago that we wrote about this (in reality it has only been about 3 months), but since most people do things at the last minute, I figured it was pretty likely you haven't switched your RSS reader over to something else. I certainly haven't.
So, if you're in a last minute panic about how you're going to surface the day's content, here are some of the RSS reader options out there for you. I've tried to provide the most critically acclaimed ones, but let me know if you use something else that people should consider trying out.
Viable RSS Reader Alternatives to Google Reader
Alternative 1: Feedly
Good For: People Who Just Want Their Google Reader Back
Feedly is one of the most frequently cited alternatives to Google Reader, probably because it has been around for a while -- so it has had time to work out kinks and establish a large user base from which to draw feedback to inform their product development.
You'll find the experience using Feedly very similar to your experience using Google Reader, so if you're averse to change, this might be the best option for you with the least amount of learning curve. (For those who see this as an opportunity to try something new, you might want to move on to some of the later options.) In Feedly, you'll be able to customize your feed to look pretty similar to Google Reader -- for instance, you can just get a list of post titles to scan through if you like to scroll through content quickly in the morning. You can also organize your content how you wish -- it lets you create new categories based on, well, whatever you want, really. There is, of course, also a free app for iOS and Android.
It's easy to get set up with Feedly -- it offers a one-click Google Reader import. So it takes about five seconds to get set up. Then, you can organize your content however you wish by simply dragging and dropping your content into new categories.
Alternative 2: Digg Reader
Good For: People Who Aren't Afraid to Try Something New
Digg is probably better known for its link sharing product, but it's a natural jump for the company to create a reader of its own. A little less established than Feedly, Digg Reader was released in beta after working on it for a few months. You might want to sign up for a beta of the tool if you're one of those people looking to experiment with something new. Digg is said to have some pretty cool stuff in the works -- one of the cooler features is its attempt to make RSS readers more social by letting you know what content is the most popular in your social network and even ranking the popularity of articles so you don't miss out on the biggest news items.
This is all very cool stuff, but the only shortcoming here is that the product is really only a few months old. If you're cool with some potential bugginess, though, Digg might be the right new reader for you to try out. Like Feedly, Digg Reader allows for Google Reader imports, so it should be easy to get set up. It also has an iOS app, but the Android app isn't quite there yet -- it's slated to be out in about a month.
Good For: People Who Are Actually Digital Bookworms Masquerading as Humans
Cost: Free or $24/year
If the idea of paying for an RSS reader seems insane, this is not the option for you (although it really only boils down to $2/month if you're using the Premium version). But NewsBlur is an option very well suited for anyone who likes to do a lot of online reading -- or just likes to look like they do, I suppose.
NewsBlur has about 7,500 people using Premium accounts, and another 11,000 or so users of the free version. When you pay for an account, you get unlimited sites, access to all your stories at once, and more frequent updates. The free version only allows 64 sites, and only displays 10 stories at a time. If you're not looking to pay for a reader and/or don't need that much content, that quickly, that often, I'd say the free version isn't as good as Feedly -- this is really best for someone who wants turbocharged reader features and is willing to pay for them.
It does, however, have a pretty cool training feature that trains the RSS reader to know what kinds of stories you're likely to be interested in -- so if content discovery is important for you, NewsBlur is worth a look-see. It also conveniently offers a Google Reader import option, and access across web, Android, and iOS.
There are a lot of other alternatives out there trying to get in on Google's RSS reader space now that it's bowing out of the game. Let us know if there are other serious contenders people should consider. And if you're considering AOL's reader as a replacement ... well, just know that people are having some serious import issues, and citing problems across both Chrome and Safari, too. So. You know. Maybe stay away from that one.
What reader are you switching over to? Or are you just abandoning RSS readers entirely?