rss-iconsSo Google is shutting down Google Reader, and the Twitterati are up in arms. What’s a old-fashioned RSS-loving web geek to do?

Move to another product, unfortunately, and suck it up: Most transitions are painful, will result in your feed organization disappearing or getting mangled, and will require work that you didn’t want to do.

However, here are some of the top alternative options to Google Reader:

  1. Feedly: It’s a great, free, minimalistic RSS reader that lives right insider your favorite browser, with mobile apps. Bonus: The site is working on a Feedly clone of the Google API reader that should seamlessly transition Google Reader users over to Feedly.
  2. NetVibes: Yes, it has an RSS reader, but it’s also a social media monitoring and analytics solution, so it may not be as clean as you might like. Free for basic personal use.
  3. NewsBlur: Free accounts for up to 64 sites, paid for above. Web, iOS, and Android clients. Note that the site is getting absolutely slammed right now as the Google Reader announcement hits, so it may take a while to load for you.

  4. RSSOwl: A desktop client for Windows, if that’s your thing. Free.
  5. FeedDemon: Another desktop client which claims to be the “most popular RSS reader for Windows.” Also free.
  6. Pulse: It’s a beautiful social magazine, but perhaps more work to create and maintain your lists of blogs and sites than Google Reader is. It’s free and available for iOS, Android, and the web.

  7. Flipboard: It’s the original social magazine made from your Twitter feeds, Facebook friends, Flickr contacts, and, until this summer, your Google Reader feeds. It’s free, beautiful, but low informational density. It’s on iOS and Android only, with no web or desktop version.
  8. NetNewsWire: Another desktop client, this one for Mac. Also has a iPad and iPhone version, and it syncs with Google Reader, so it may be able to get your Google Reader feeds. However, it doesn’t look like it is under active development based on the app’s website.
  9. Liferea: One more desktop client, but for Linux. Free and open source, and it includes Google Reader sync while supporting Google Reader labels. Just hit 1.10 release candidate, and sure to get more popular now with Google Reader’s demise.
  10. Rolio: Rolio is a river-of-news real-time feed of your RSS feeds, Twitter and Facebook connections on the web … and it supports importing of RSS feeds from Google Reader. Mobile apps for iOS and Android are coming soon.
  11. River2: River2 is another river-of-news feed reader created by RSS co-inventor Dave Winer. It installs on your Mac or Windows PC, but it does require just a couple hacker credentials. Free.

None of these exactly fit the niche that Google Reader fills, but that is the pain of relying on a solution from a company that can withdraw the product at any given time.

One thing to keep in mind, as a software developer in my coworking space said today about the shutdown: “I’m only going to use an open-source project for my RSS reader, because I want to have control over it and make sure it will continue to exist,” said Aras Balali. “It’s a bit of work, but it’s worth it.”

photo credit: mattgalligan via photopin cc

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