Have you heard the terrible news? Google has announced it will be shutting down Google Reader as of July 1, 2013! How will you keep up with your favorite blogs?! Well, don’t freak out too much. Here are two super simple alternatives to Google Reader that you can set up in less than 3 minutes: Bloglovin’ and Feedly!
At it’s most basic, Google Reader was an RSS reader, an aggregator of RSS feeds designed to help you keep up with all the blogs you follow in one place. But it also had a lot of great “extra” features that made it super useful.
You could easily search for and subscribe to your favorite blogs from inside the reader. You could search within all feeds, or a specific one (perfect for those times when you know you just saw a delicious-sounding Irish Coffee recipe, but can’t, for the life of you, remember where!) You could put blogs you follow into folders (which I use for keeping track of which link parties occur on which days). You could tag posts or star important posts so that you could easily find them later. You could share posts from right inside the reader. You could customize the look and feel so that you could easily browse through the full text of a post, or just look at titles if that’s more your speed. In short, Google Reader was more than just an RSS aggregator!
But it’s going away. 🙁 So today I’m going to share two alternatives to Google Reader that I have a bit of experience with, and hopefully you’ll find that one or the other will help fill the void that will be left starting on July 1.
Google Reader Alternatives
First up is Bloglovin’! Bloglovin’ is another RSS reader that allows you to subscribe to blogs’ feeds and pulls them all into one place for you. And for those of you who are already pretty set up in Google Reader, don’t worry! You can easily import your Google Reader subscriptions into Bloglovin’ so you don’t miss a thing!
Here’s the basic view from the main screen on Bloglovin’.
It defaults to showing you excerpts of all unread posts, but you can still put blogs into categories/folders and view the posts that way. Or you can “Like” a post and view your “Liked posts” at a later time. Unlike Google Reader though, once a blog post has been marked as read, you no longer see it. Unless you “Like” the post to mark it as a favorite, you won’t be able to find it again later through Bloglovin’.
Also, there is no option to see the full text of a post from the main Bloglovin’ page; instead you see an excerpt and the featured image. But, they have a very cool feature for viewing the full text! If you enable their frame reader, when you click on a post from your main Bloglovin’ screen, the actual blog opens up and you can see the full post with a Bloglovin’ bar at the top!
This is super awesome for a lot of reasons! First, it lets you see the full text of a blog post on the blog itself. So you can see the blog’s header, sidebar, and navigation, and it’s easy to find other awesome stuff written by that blogger. Also, since you are on the actual blog itself, you can leave a comment, which you couldn’t do from Google Reader without clicking over to the blog in a new tab or window. And, unlike with Google Reader, viewing a blog post this way actually counts as a pageview for the blogger, which is how most of us make money, so you’re helping out the bloggers too! And whenever you’re done reading the post, just click the buttons on the Bloglovin’ bar to be taken to the next unread post in your list.
Bloglovin’ is a great alternative to Google Reader, especially if you like to read blog posts on the blogs themselves, rather than reading the full text inside of a reader. So if you want to follow my blog with Bloglovin’ instead of Google Reader, just click the button below to add me to your list!
And for anybody who wants to switch over all your current Google Reader blogs into Bloglovin’, it’s pretty simple to do! Go into the Account menu at the top right of your Bloglovin’ home page, and click Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the settings page and click Import blogs. It will walk you through using Google Takeout to export your Google Reader info and then import it into Bloglovin’ from there. One thing to note: Bloglovin’ won’t automatically import your Google Reader folders, so you’ll have to set that up again. (P.S. Make sure the Bloglovin’ frame is enabled here, otherwise you won’t see the awesome bar at the top of the posts when you read them!)
As much as I love Bloglovin’, the inability to view the posts you’ve already read or search within them was a deal-breaker for me. So I decided to give Feedly a try.
In my opinion, Feedly is a great alternative to Google Reader! It looks a little different and takes some getting used to, but it does pretty much everything that Google Reader used to!
It defaults to showing you excerpts of all your unread posts, but it shows you in a fun “magazine” style view! If you don’t like the magazine style, you have tons of options for changing the layout of the posts.
You can also hover over the three little lines at the top left to bring up a standard sidebar menu for more viewing options.
And, you can view the full text of a post within Feedly if you’d like, just like with Google Reader. And you have all the same options for sharing posts or tagging them for later reference.
Setting up Feedly with your Google Reader subscriptions is a snap! Just log in with your Google account credentials, and everything is automatically imported; folders and everything! There is one caveat however: Feedly is a browser extension, so you have to be using a modern browser like Chrome, FireFox, or Safari in order to use it. If you still use Internet Explorer as your browser (even IE 9 or 10), you won’t be able to use Feedly. 🙁
But all in all, for me, Feedly is the perfect replacement for Google Reader!
So, it’s a bummer that Google Reader is going away, but you have options, so don’t despair! Do you have any experience with BlogLovin’, Feedly, or any other RSS reader? What are your plans once Google Reader disappears?
If you plan to use Bloglovin’ or Feedly and have any questions or problems, let me know! I’d be happy to help you get set up!
I link up at these awesome parties!
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