The Best Google Reader Alternatives

The Best Google Reader Alternatives

Google’s decision to shut down Google Reader means you’ll need to find a new way to get your news fix. Here are our favourite alternatives.

Title image remixed from MARSIL (Shutterstock) and sspopov (Shutterstock).

Reader shutting down sucks, but no amount of complaining is going to make Google change its mind. While there aren’t any RSS alternatives that exactly replicate Reader’s features (such as starring, availability on a wide variety of platform, integration with your Google account and familiar Google keyboard shortcuts), there are other options. There’s also an obvious market gap for an enterprising developer to build a Reader clone . . .

Find A New RSS Reader

RSS is the mechanism by which Google Reader subscribes to web sites, and lets you know which articles you’ve read. (You can find more details in our Lifehacker 101 RSS guide. RSS readers fall into two broad categories: cloud-based systems and desktop readers (mobile apps usually integrate with cloud services).

Option 1: Cloud-Based News Readers


If you read your RSS feeds one more than one device, you’ll want to try a web-based RSS reader. NetVibes (pictured above) is one of the most popular web reader, offering a Google Reader-like interface as well as a snazzy iGoogle-like homepage.

NewsBlur is also a great option, with an interface that’s very similar to Google Reader (and arguably a little more polished). You create an account with either service, subscribe to your favourite sites, and read them on any computer. Both have Android and iOS apps that will sync your feeds as well.

Feedly is popular, but definitely different than Google Reader. Its interface is less traditional and a bit more “newspaper-like” but it’s very pretty. You need to download a browser extension for Chrome or Firefox to use it, but you’ll be able to sync your feeds between browsers and to Feedly’s mobile apps.

The Old Reader basically is Google Reader; the interface is practically identical. You can login right with your Google account import feeds that way, although The Old Reader claims it’s flooded at the moment and won’t let you. The downside here is that there are no apps (yet) and social integration is only available by connecting through Facebook. But it’s great as a barebones replacement for web use.

Pulse is a flashy, stylish reader that supports the use of multiple columns to organise. And it looks as stunning on your Android or iOS device as it does in your browser.

Twitter is by no means a perfect replacement, but it might be able to fill part of the hole depending on your use-case. Twitter doesn’t have an “unread” state, so it’s only good for here-and-now developements, but many outlets use Twitter as a glorified RSS feed anyway, and there’s no shortage of mobiles apps. If you’re a light RSS user and a heavy Twitter user, you might be able to work something out. Maybe. [clear]

Option 2: Desktop-Based News Readers

Your other option is to go with a desktop app. Desktop readers often offer many more features than their web-based counterparts, but with one big downside: all desktop apps currently sync with Google Reader. That means, unless the developers get it syncing with a different service, you’ll only be able to read your feeds on the machine you used to subscribe to them. Of course, Google Reader doesn’t shut down until July, so there’s enough time for developers to build alternatives, and we’ll be watching closely.

For Windows, we really like FeedDemon (pictured) for its high level of customisability. Check out our App Directory entry to read more about it and get some alternatives. Mac users should check out the beautiful, feature-packed Reeder and its alternatives. If you do most of your reading on your phone or tablet, you might try some of the Android- or iOS-based feed readers as well.

Import Your Google Reader Feeds

Once you’ve found a new RSS reader, you should import your Google Reader feeds so you don’t have to re-subscribe to everything. Check out our separate guide on how to do that.

You have until July to figure out which RSS reader you want to move to, so try a few different services out and see what you like. Hopefully, by the time July rolls around, some of the desktop apps will have new options. In the meantime, join us in the comments and share your favourite non-Google RSS reader.


  • So why are they killing it?

    It doesn’t seem to need much maintenance.

    Even if Google don’t make money, it is widely used and integrates with other services, therefore is adding value to the Google brand.

    • still cost a fair bit just to keep it there, server space/power/costs, would still require a a skeleton crew to be on the up and up with it cose wise for bug/security fixes and to keep it alive should it fail.

      i find it hard to believe that the amount of users is so small its not worth it in some sense but google have said alot recently they want to trim the fat down to a few core products, if something isnt immensely popular its getting the axe

    • My guess? They’re killing it to transition people to plus.

      Clearly they should have transferred to plus first.

      Is there an alternative that can go offline, or load the website into each tab?

    • Take note Lifehacker, there’s an article in this: “Is your online app ready for refugees?”.

      (you have my email address, royalties accepted via Paypal if you must)

  • There will soon be another alternative. I’m the founder of Newsflock, which is a social network designed for news. It’s a bit like a collaborative Google Reader merged with Reddit.

    We’re not ready for launch yet, but are accepting alpha users so people can join the invite list at

    • @Newsflock, speaking as a very long time Reader user: newsflock doesn’t even sound slightly interesting. To me, Reader is a list of authors I care about, and I want to read everything they write. (I may skim, or just read the title). That’s it. No social features desired. No readdit merge. No attempts to suggest new people I might want to read. Just let me read my authors in peace. That’s it. Really. Nothing else.

  • This made me scream at my monitor in rage, I’ve been using Google reader since it launched, I read about 10 000 articles a month.

    All the apps that have been built to integrate with Google reader are up the creek now too… bye bye Greader

  • I was browsing Lifehacker, saw this title, kept browsing. Then I went to Google Reader (it’s lunchtime, I need things to read!) and saw the “Google Reader will not be available after July 1, 2013” and RACED back here 🙁

  • This is the problem with cloud computing, your entire workflow can be disrupted at the whim of a mindless Google accountant. You can’t rely on anything in the cloud to exist in the future it seems.

    • Seems one thing you can rely on though is the indignant cries of entitlement when things that people didn’t earn or pay for are taken away from them! I really like Google Reader and am sad to see it go, but to say removing a free service is the work of a “mindless Google accountant” is surely a bit oxymoronic is it not?

      • People have been “paying” enough with all the info Google gleans from their users employing various other services. I definitely agree that if Google doesn’t want to keep Reader because they can’t monetize it the same way it is possible with other offerings, they should look into making it open source or a paid service rather than just announce that it’ll be discontinued.

        It just doesn’t instill confidence that other services NOT directly integrated in Android (Google sites, Blogger) will be around for much longer.

        Trying to force the still limping Google+ down the users’ throats that way won’t go down well. Finding out what the problem is with the platform as it is (and that’s simply that it’s a We-Too-Have-A-Facebook that was late to the party) and turning it into a unique service that has its own niche would be too difficult though, I guess.

  • Theres still plenty of time to see new players enter the market and the old ones get their act together to handle the influx of people signing up. I think we should review the alternatives around mid june.

    • I am giving Feedly a go as well and I haven’t really taken to it to be honest. Looks pretty but very different to Google Reader. Going to try NewsBlur now and see if I like that better.

  • How do I import my Google reader feeds into the new alternates? When I click on the link for the separate guide it keeps bringing me back to the instructions on how to export the feed, which I have already done

  • How has no one mentioned Pulse as an alternative – Apps on iOS and Android, web based reader too – It’s perfect for replacing Google Reader …

  • NetVibes wants $500 a month…imma gonna go ahead and assume the link is wrong ;S

    edit: and my gawd, feedly on android is VERY lacking in so many many ways

  • all i want is a web based feed reader…no social bullshit, no platform ‘syncing’, just a reader based in the cloud, and one that may sync with google reader before it dies.
    looks like theoldreader is the only (maybe) to do this – does anybody know of any others?

  • Nobody’s talking about this, but Google is killing Reader not only for the free users, but also for those organizations PAYING for Google Apps. Yes, they’re killing services that companies are paying for.

    Why in the world would I base my organization’s entire infrastructure on Google Apps when Google will simply suddenly kill parts without any warning, without any sunset plan?

  • Or, #3, run your own web app. Cause there’s plenty of us who want the convenience of cross-platform usage, but want to still own and control our own data. If you’re the sort of person who is running your own WordPress install, this might be for you.

    Unfortunately, I can’t say I exactly recommend doing this: once Google Reader came on the scene (2006), development of open source web-based RSS aggregators pretty much halted. But, nevertheless, I use Gregarius and it’s okay if rusty and a bit flakey. It’s AJAX+LAMP, so you can run it at most hosting companies. I’m sincerely hoping that the death of GReader will propel fellow devs to start contributing to FOSS web-based RSS aggregators again.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!