Google Reader Is Shutting Down; Here Are The Best Alternatives

Google Reader Is Shutting Down; Here Are The Best Alternatives

Google is closing Google Reader’s doors on July 1, which means you’ll need to find a new way to get your news fix. Here are the services you should check out, and how to export all your feeds and put them into a new reader.

Picture: MARSIL/Shutterstock, sspopov/Shutterstock

Step 1: Export Your Google Reader Data

  1. Head to Google Takeout’s Reader page and click the Create Archive button. It will start building a file with all your feeds, the people you follow, starred items and more (although you won’t be able to import most of these to other sites).
  2. Once it’s finished building, click the Download button that appears to get your subscriptions.
  3. Open up the ZIP file you just downloaded and go through the folders inside. Inside the “Reader” folder, you should see a file called subscriptions.xml. Extract that to your desktop. This is the file that contains all your subscribed feeds.

Save this file in a safe place while you hunt for a new RSS reader, since you may need it more than once!

Step 2: Find a New RSS Reader

Google Reader uses a tool called RSS to subscribe to websites. While Google Reader has been the dominant choice, there are lots of other RSS readers out there. After the shutdown announcement, a bunch of awesome readers have come out of the woodwork and improved their offerings, both by adding new features and (in many cases) by removing their own reliance on the Google Reader backend, so there’s something for just about everyone. Here are some of our favourites.

For the App Lovers: Feedly

Feedly (iOS/Android/Web) is by far the most popular Google Reader alternative, and with good reason. It has a clean, beautiful interface that you can tweak to work almost exactly like Google Reader. It also lets you choose been a newspaper-like interface or an image-centric view.

Feedly has been adding new features like crazy since Google Reader’s death announcement, including a new syncing service (that syncs with popular apps like Reeder and gReader), an extension-free web app, and recommendations and keyboard shortcuts. If you want to use the service that everyone else will be using — and that will sync with the most apps — Feedly is the service you want.

For the Desktop Reader Enthusiast: NewsBlur


For the Social: The Old Reader

The Old Reader

For What the Crowd Is Reading: Digg Reader

Digg Readermuch-anticipated RSS readerlooks pretty solid

For the Minimalist: Newsvibe


For the Visual Reader: Pulse


For the Do-It-Yourself Folks: Tiny Tiny RSS

Tiny Tiny RSSyourtakes a bit of work to set up

For Everyone Else

These are far from the only readers out there, but they’re the most popular ones and the ones we’d recommend checking out first. Of course, if you want something different, there’s likely to be something that’ll satisfy you. iGoogle fans will love NetVibes. Skimmers should check out Skimr, and picky readers can filter content with Curata. AOL even has a stylish new RSS reader. Desktop users can try something like FeedDemon, Reeder, or even Outlook. Whatever your needs, you’re sure to find something out there that works for you.

Still haven’t found something you like? Check out this huge list of Google Reader alternatives.

Step 3: Import Your Google Reader Feeds

  1. Open up your new feed reader of choice and head into its settings.
  2. Find the Import option. This will be in a different spot for every reader, but most should have an option to import feeds using an “OPML” file — this is the file you downloaded from Google Reader earlier.
  3. Select the import option, and choose the subscriptions.xml you extracted from Google Takeout. All of your feeds should appear in your new reader.

This won’t import your starred items or know which articles you’ve already read on Google Reader, but at least you’ll still have all your subscriptions. Try out that reader for a few days. If you don’t like it, sign up for a different one and re-import your feeds. As long as you keep that subscriptions.xml file saved in a safe place, you should be able to try as many readers as you want, even after Google Reader shuts down.

You still have one week to figure out which RSS reader you want to move to, so by the time Google Reader shuts down, you should be ready to keep reading news without skipping a beat. In the meantime, join us in the comments below and share your favourite non-Google RSS reader.


  • Thanks!

    I tried Feedly early on, but relying on an Chrome app just didn’t make sense to me. Something doesn’t feel right about it.

    So I went back to Google Reader and continued to push my luck until today. I’ve installed TT-RSS on my web server and I’m pretty confident that I’ve found an alternative.

    I’m still curious as to what others are doing instead of RSS, though. If it wasn’t for your posts reminding us about that July 1 date, I would think I was just about the only person using Google Reader!

  • I’ve just made the transition to The Old Reader, as it seems to match my reading style the best. It’s a surprisingly feature-filled product that just stays out of my way and lets me read.

    Of the contenders:
    -Feedly was discounted because of the need to install browser extensions. I’m still not sure why they’re necessary.
    -TT-RSS is great. I can’t give any particularly good reasons for not trying it, except that I left the move quite late and I probably wont get time to install/configure it before then.
    -Newsvibe looks attractive and simple, but doesn’t have a demo interface online. I don’t like to sign up just to see if a website works.

    There’s a lot of good competition, and one key reason I went with The Old Reader is that it lets me export my feeds if I decide to jump ship (unlike feedly at present)

  • I’ve been using netvibes in reader mode. It works pretty well. Still going to miss Google Reader. I’m going to try out Diggs alternative when it arrives see if its any better than Netvibes

  • Much appreciation for the guide. I’ve been procrastinating hoping that it was a hoax but no, google is being evil to me.

    Although I have to say, after playing around for half an hour or so I’m starting to prefer feedly to google reader.

  • Checkout SwarmIQ. Similar functionality.
    Features: The ability to skim large #s of headlines, organize lots
    of feeds, label them, tag articles for later reading, fast unobtrusive
    “no magazine layout”.

    Sign up at , click on the Google reader icon to get all your feeds, and get up and running straight away.

    Disclosure: I’m on the team that built this site 🙂 Also, we don’t have “Google Alerts” type functionality yet.

  • Great roundup – these are all wonderful replacement options! You could also try FlowReader: It’s a reader for your RSS feeds and the newsfeeds from your Facebook and Twitter. (Disclaimer: I’m from the FlowReader team). We have an easy one-click importer that will import your feeds from Google Reader and preserve your categories. You can also post directly to your social media accounts from within the application.

    We just recently launched, so we’re working out a few things, but if you haven’t found your replacement yet – it’s worth checking out. Either way, good luck to everyone! I know it’s a tough choice 🙂

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