Saturday, 29 June 2013

Goodbye Google Reader; Hello Feedly

Exit Google Reader

It's no news that Google Reader is being shut down. Like many Reader-users (Readers? Rusers? Hmmm...), I've left it close to the last possible minute to find a replacement. But I've done so and here's a summary of my choice.

In defence of those who've put off the move, part of the problem was, initially, the lack of really Reader-like RSS readers. So since the announcement, many have added features and functionality to better mimic our departing favourite. Which is great, because we like Google Reader, and all we really want is something just like it.

Enter Feedly

I've settled on Feedly. To be honest, I haven't done much experimentation with other services but Feedly has been updating to closely fit my Reader fill. Firstly, I wanted access to my RSS feeds on a webpage. (Feedly only fulfilled this quite recently.) This rules out readers that install local clients or extensions. Secondly, I wanted an Android app. This ruled out iOS-exlcusives like Reeder. And finally, I just wanted something that looked like reader, so no Pulse. That is, one article per line. I don't want images all over my feeds. Not until I open an article anyway.

Hence Feedly. It can be rendered almost into an almost-perfect replica of Google Reader. In fact, the only UI difference I've found so far is that pressing n moves to the next article in the list and marks it read, which Google Reader didn't. But that's okay. I can get used to that.

The transition wasn't perfectly seamless, either, but it may have been my own doing. I was using Feedly on my phone to read from my Google Reader account. When I transferred the feeds on my PC, I suspect I opened a Feedly account and thus the two devices weren't, for a few days, actually reading the same feeds. I think I've fixed this but watch out for your own growing pains. Even if it is a bit rough, you don't have much choice, since Google Reader is cutting us off anyway.

RSS is still useful

Finally, while we're here, I'd like to point out to anyone asking (is anyone asking?) that I still find RSS very useful. While New Scientist and Scientific American's current stories can tumble down a Twitter or Google+ feed without my having to worry that I've missed some critical information, there are many things for which I like to be sure I've seen all the content releases. For my own enjoyment, this includes, say, webcomics. I like to read every xkcd, whether I'm coming into the office as usual or computer-less on the Baltic Sea for a week. More notably, however, are journal articles. Want to make sure you miss nothing of your favourite scientific journals (or the arXiv preprints)? Subscribe to the RSS feed! That way, the article only goes away when you move past it's title in your feed.

Have you moved on to a new RSS reader? Feedly or some other? Or have you finally abandoned RSS entirely? Let me know.

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