Moving on from My Precious Reader

Google Reader will be gone for good in less than three weeks.

Since the announcement, I’ve continued to use Reader, the denial stage, but this week, I finally decided to investigate replacements.

I used this crowdsourced list of alternatives as my starting place. My criteria were:

  • A for-pay service: Not that this is a guarantee of survival, but recent experience with Posterous, Delicious and obviously Reader, leads me to hope that paying might help sustain whatever services I choose.
  • Absolutely not self-hosted: Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • An Android client: I read on one of my Android devices about half the time, so yeah, I need that.
  • A way to share to Evernote: Evernote has quickly become my personal corpus of information I find around the intertubes. So, I definitely need a way to push interesting items I read there, whether via direct integration with Evernote or through IFTTT or Zapier.

I finally settled on two options, NewsBlur and Feedbin. NewsBlur has a free option, so I can see how it works, while simultaneously testing Feedbin.


NewsBlur has a free option, but my reading will hit the limits very quickly. So, for my purposes it costs $24/year. It’s open-sourced, which is nice, and it’s visually appealing, a lot of nice, thoughtful work, done well with performant JavaScript. For sharing, I can use IFTTT.

NewsBlur might be a bit too feature-rich for me. It has sharing, statistics, and recommendations, making it a nice Reader replacement. But, I never used those much, and I’m really just focused on consumption.

NewsBlur has a handy Google Reader import feature, but that drove me a bit mad since I couldn’t get the unread counts to match. I ended up scrapping that and starting over with my Reader OPML file.


Feedbin costs $2/month, so the same as NewsBlur. I’m not entirely sure, given they sent me a receipt for $0.00, but my guess is they bill for a year, rather than by month. The latter would mean excessive transaction fees for each charge.

Update: I heard back from Feedbin that they offer a free, three-day trial before charging. So, that’s nice.

Feedbin has an API, and I like the developer-friendly model. I’m not thrilled about using basic authentication over SSL, but I get that this is a small project. At least I know how they handle it, so I can choose a client wisely, and for Android, I’ve got Press, which I test-drove as a Google Reader client back in December, based on several positive reviews.

Press announced they would support Feedbin, and that update is now available. Another plus for Feedbin is that I can use Reeder with it. I love Reeder, and even though I no longer carry any iOS devices, I have the Mac app.

As for the web version of Feedbin, I like its sparse interface, very Reeder-esque in fact. As with NewsBlur, it’s easy to use and fast.

So, for the foreseeable future, I plan to use both services. This will be confusing, and that’s the idea. When I’m in a hurry to consume some information, I’ll gravitate to the one I prefer, which will help me make a choice.

No matter which one wins in the end, I’ll pay for both to support the post-Reader World, which is one that still needs a great feed reader. Today, as part of tearing off the Band-Aid, I unpinned the Google Reader tab from Chrome. This is more than symbolic because it was the first tab, and now all the other pinned tabs have moved. I’ve already aimed for a tab based on muscle memory and missed, a sad reminder of the hole that Reader will leave.


Have you picked a Reader replacement?

Find the comments.




  1. I am having a good experience with Like GR it works from any modern browser. This is my most important criteria.

  2. @chet: I ruled out Fever for some of the same reasons I’d skip Prismatic, interest suggestions. I just want a feed reader, no suggestions. NewsBlur seems to do some of that, but it’s extraneous for me. Feedbin looks like an early favorite.

    @Sean: The Old Reader looks promising, but I skipped it bc it’s not for-pay. Plus, no mobile clients yet. Otherwise, it looks solids. Keep us informed. They seem pretty committed to advancing it.

  3. jake
    I’ve started. getting used to feedly and flipboard and apparently feedly is planning for pay model while things like tags are missing they are updating pretty quickly

  4. @Fuad: Flipboard is nice, but it’s too busy for my reading tastes. I tried Feedly years ago and again after the Reader announcement. Didn’t really stick. Seems like Feedly is the front-runner to benefit the most, seen lots of people migrate there.

  5. With the death of Google Reader, I’m actually taking the opportunity to go on a low-information-diet.

    Not forever, mind you… maybe just for the month of July. See how far behind the times I fall.

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