Google Reader, the popular news aggregator and reader service, is in its last
week of existence. After July 1, it won't be accessible. The impending demise
created an opportunity for many other RSS (Really Simple Syndication) services
to provide an alternative by ramping up their features.
A feed aggregator, like Reader, delivers you content from multiple websites on one single page. If you follow, for example, 20 websites, you don't need to open each of them to see the updated content. Moreover, the updated content may not be on the home page, and there is every possibility that you may miss it. A feed aggregator solves the problem. Not surprisingly, Google Reader was very popular and for reasons best known to Google, it's being shut down.
The first off the block to fill the void was Feedly, which got into action on the very day Google announced the decision, on March 13. They increased server capacity and provided easy syncing with Google Reader. During the last three months, Feedly has been regularly updating and upgrading the features, and as of now, it is the best alternative to Google Reader.
It provides you not only a Google Reader-like experience, it goes beyond and does what the Reader failed to do: a magazine format with curated contented. There are two other ways of viewing the feeds: card and full article.
It also integrated with IFTTT, a service that enables users of websites to connect and share content with other sites. So, the Feedly channel can be connected to 65 channels like Buzzfeed, Facebook, Evernote, Flicker, Gmail, Wordpress, etc.
"We delivered a one-click migration tool which allows users to migrate their feeds, categories, starred items and tags from Google Reader to the Feedly cloud. It is available at http://cloud.feedly.com," says a blog post. It has mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.
Flipboard is another good alternative; it's available only on iOS and Android devices, unlike Feedly which is also on the web. You can connect social networks and websites, and the app aggregates and delivers feeds from them in a magazine format, the pages of which can be flipped. You can save them for reading later or share the contents on other networks.
A few other options are Google Currents, Pulse and Newsblur. All of them provide contents in a similar magazine format. Social Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can also be used to follow news updates by subscribing to feeds.
Digg, which delivers the most talked about stories on cyberspace, says it will roll out Digg Reader. They are promising to keep it simple, fast and provide the provision to import the Reader subscriptions.
Facebook too is rumoured to be working on a reader. But with Feedly already way ahead, late starters have a real challenge ahead.
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