Choosing a replacement for Google Reader

This post tells the story of my choosing a replacement for Google reader.

Every so often, I do a post here on Blogger-HAT which is a little "different".

Today, I'm starting the quest to choose a replacement for Google Reader (yes, the turn-off was announced back in March, but there's no point in starting these things too soon - I expect that a few options have improved considerably since then.

One way that this post is different is that I'm going to hit publish very soon, with the post just started not just finished.    So if you're a subscriber and want to see what I end up with, you might like to sign up on Facebook or somewhere, so you get a notification when I've finished.
    So let's get started:

    First stop:   [google reader replacement]
    A cool 66-million results.   Yeah, I'll zip through those in no time.

    Scanning down the list, I don't recognise some of the top placegetters:

    The first three are from Google News.   No, don't want to check them - I want comparative reviews, no press-releases.

    A post from "howtogeek" - nah, I don't want to be a geek.

    One from "" - sounds like a sponsored listing, even though it's not.  But the summary does say "Note: This post is a running list and will continue to be updated with new options and " - let's take a look.   They have five options:
    Feed Wrangler

    Feedly is the only free one.   They're making the usual mutterings about "look what happened to the last free option" - but I remember Picnik:   it wasn't free, but it still got shut down.    So I'm not hung up about free = no control.

    Not enough to compare yet, need to check another list or two.

    6 June update:   

    Saw this comment on another site.
    Looked atThe Old Reader - Clicked on the sign-in with Google and see that The Old Reader is requesting permission to: View and manage your Google Contacts - That's a NO
    Looked at Feedly - Clicked on the Get Feedly for Chrome and it states it can Access your data on all websites and Access your tabs & browsing activity - That's a NO

    I'm not so fussed about whether something accesses my tabs and browsing activity - but I don't want a Chrome app:   I need something that works in whatever browser I happen to use, be it IE in the office or Firefox or Chrome at home.

    12 June:

    I found a reference to Rolio somewhere.    Signed up - even though the screen looked rather bare and pale ( = trendy, but harder to read).   Then I subscribed to one feed, and got an email confirming that I'd subscribed.   Ahh ... no, that's going to get wayyy too painful.

    16 June:

    I'm starting to get concerned about the number of de-recommendations I'm seeing.   There seem to be lots of reasons not to use tools, and no compelling replacement.

    So I decided to try The Old Reader.

    The bit about it wanting to access your Google Contacts may be true - but it's not necessary.    I decided to keep the two services separate, and signed up with a totally new account, no Google Contacts requests involved.

    It looked a bit odd to start with, but once I realized that it doesn't actually work with IE8, and switched to Chrome, it worked ok.   Personally I think the design is a little ugly - but the basics of Google Reader are there.  

    Reading their blog, it's still a very young product - three developers, now getting help from the wider community, but still working out a sustainable model for their product.    So it could start charging subscriptions (I'm not keen) or showing ads (doesn't worry me, provided they're not too intrusive) or get bought of by a large player (I'm guessing that won't be Google :-)  ), and I might be searching again.   But it's worth the risk for a while I think.

    25 July Update

    I was quite happy - until the last few days when TheOldReader has been unavailable due to a hardware upgrade that went wrong.   It's back now, on Friday morning - but it's got me wondering when it might go down next.

    So I went looking for other web-browser based feed readers - and was disappointed in how few there seem to be.    One option I've tried is the Digg reader.  For this, I had to sign in with my Google account - though discovered upon later logins that it's possible to log in with either Facebook or Twitter, too.  It won't work with IE8, but is ok on Chrome.   It imported my Google Reader subscriptions ok.   The top-level interface is fine - although the list of feeds doesn't show which ones have new items in them.   The display of individual items in feeds is a little ugly, though.

    So at this stage, I'm not sure which option I'll stick with.

    29 July

    It looks like the decision is being made for me:   I just logged in to The Old Reader, and say the following banner message at the top of the screen:

    We have disabled user registration at The Old Reader, and we might be making the website private. If we do, unfortunately your account will not be transferred to the private site, so you might want to export your subscriptions as OPML and start looking for an alternative solution. More details are in available in our blog:

    Having read their blog-post:   the plan is to make the site private in two weeks time, unless someone else steps in with a way to make it work.

    Not a good week for me - a lot on at the day job.   So I won't be moving anywhere quickly ... but am definitely looking for alternative web-delivered, browser-agnostic RSS-reader options.

    Criteria for choosing:

    The classic approach to choosing software is to determine your requirements, then evaluate options against how well they meet them.    But I've found it hard to distil my requirements.

    Bottom line - it must let import and let me read the RSS feeds I have now, and let me add new ones.

    Pretty important:
    Not a stream:  I want to catch up with everything in each feed every so often - not just a stream of what's recent.
    Must read RSS feeds - not tweets or other stuff.
    Nice to have:
    Browser independent
    Used my Google account (maybe)

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