by May 27, 2013 0 comments

One of the most popular RSS readers out there, Feedly has a clean and intuitive interface that aggregates all of the important news feeds that you want. With a huge catalogue of preset feeds and search capability to find any web feeds you want, it is flexible and powerful. Users have to install a Chrome or Firefox extension to use it, but it syncs up wonderfully between browsers and with the mobile apps. There is an iOS,Android and Kindle app to satisfy mobile users. The best thing about Feedly is its tight integration with Google Reader. Logging in with your google account gives it access to your Google reader information, so it automatically imports all of your subscriptions from Google Reader without any manual work from the user. While it currently does sync with Google Reader and obtain feeds from Google’s API, it says that it will be completely independent of Google Reader once it shuts down in July.

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An open-source alternative to Google Reader, NewsBlur offers multiple feed aggregators with a simple left-column dedicated to the feeds, and a main frame which displays the feeds and their expansion. Another unique feature to Newsblur is that it can actually be trained. By the user “liking” or “not liking” stories, the reader learns to only provide specific content by using the metadata available about articles, such as the author or category. There is also a feature which provides various “views” of the content, such as “Original”,”Feed” and “Story”, that will load varying versions of the story within the main frame of the application itself! This allows for loading of external objects and images that do not load properly in the “Feed” view. However, the website is under heavy load now due to the rapid growth of users migrating from Google Reader. One downside to NewsBlur is that the free version allows adding of up to 64 feeds, and paying to purchase the premium version allows unlimited addition of feeds to the application. There is an Android and iOS app available for this service.

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This is another enjoyable service, that provides a unique RSS reader experience compared to the others. It allows the user to toggle between two views, the “widgets” view and the “reader” view. The “widgets” view gives a certain type of “iGoogle” experience, with various widgets displaying different news feeds. The user has the ability to customize the layout as they please and save their choice with their account. It makes it easy for newbies to start their own catalogue of news feeds, by allowing them to preset catalogues such as “Technology” which already contain the most popular feeds available. It has an easy import option that will read the XML generated by Google Takeout to bring over all of your content from Google Reader. You can even add social widgets such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr to watch their feeds along with the news. Sometimes, it feels like an information overload, but it’s nice that the app provides so much customizability! And it’s totally free!

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The Old Reader
For those who want to stick the “Google Reader” classic feel, this is the perfect choice. Simple in layout and design, it mimics the best of the good old Google Reader. With the same keyboard shortcuts, and sharing capabilities to post with Facebook, it offers the tried-and-tested route that many people will prefer. It also has a “trending” section that pulls up articles that have been read frequently. There is also a “Find Friends” option that can search your Facebook or Google account for friends, who you can follow and have a track of the feeds that they subscribe to and read. However, the one thing lacking in this service is the ability to create categories. Another issue is that a user can only add feeds by entering the URL of the feed, while other websites had a catalogue of feeds to pick and choose from, which were already preset. If you are importing your subscription from Google Reader though, it won’t be a problem. But if you wish to search for your favorite topics through the old reader, it won’t be possible!

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Already a favorite of users on Android and iOS, Pulse also has a webapp to browse stories online. Pulse is not the typical RSS feed aggregator, as it usually puts trending stories at the top for the user. Also, the app is very visual-focused, and most of the content is shown in images and lesser text content is displayed. We tried out the web app, and it was refreshingly smooth and the UI was very similar to the mobile apps. Another advantage is that they have also made facility for the import of Google Reader news feeds. Also, the web app uses huge tiles, so reading articles becomes a pleasure. The social aspect is also taken care of, with obvious Twitter and Facebook share options. The font size, as well as the contrast can be customized, and articles can be saved for later reading. The stories can also be tiled in different ways, allowing for various visualizations of your favorite content!

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