Google Reader Alternatives: THE List.

If you are one of those stricken Google reader users like most of us out here, you must be looking for a good alternative to read all those feeds you picked up over the years. In case you haven’t heard, Google is shutting down Google reader and 7 other services. Here’s what you have to do.

First, you need to take out your data. There are two ways of doing this. One is to go to Google Takeout and liberate your reader data by following the steps given there. You will have all your data, including lists, starred items and notes bundled into a neat zip file. Once Google is done archiving your files, hit the download button (see pic). It asks for your password. When the download is complete, you are ready to export your reader data to one of the alternative feed reading programs.Google Reader Takeout

You can also do this by using preferences from Google reader. Once you click preferences, go to Import/ Export and select “Download your data through Takeout.” It guides you through the same process as above.

There are some really good feed readers out there. We’ve picked some for you. There are more out there on the web.

1. Prismatic

PrismaticPrismatic is amazingly cool. For people looking for an alternative, this works out easy. It is also one of the new generation of personalized readers. Sign in with your Google credentials and it creates a neat pile of all your reading material.

2. The Old Reader

The Old reader is like the old Google reader with some improvements. You can import your feeds from your Google reader account by using their OPML import feature. Its also coming up with a mobile interface soon. Because of all the Google users migrating, the Old Reader seems to be a bit overloaded at the moment. They have limited the number of imports active at the same time. This will ease out in a bit when the rush is over. So wait for a day and import your files. Meanwhile, you can add feeds manually.

3. Rolio

Rolio aggregates your news feeds, social media and everything else on the web for you into a custom real time feed. Its available for Apple iOS and Android as well as on the web. You can start by selecting a bunch of suggested feeds. But if you just want to replicate your Google reader, go to My Rolio and select the Import Feeds option. Browse for the OPML/ XML file you’ve downloaded form Google earlier and import them onto Rolio.

4. GoodNoos

This one is a web app which lets you personalise your news stream for free. Sign up using Google, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin and fire away. This app lets you create a personalised feed from a list of suggested feeds and also from social media sources like Twitter. Google reader users can import an OPML file. Its quite snazzy, compared to Google’s simple interface and lets you choose from different visual styles.

5. BazQux

The reader shows all your feeds in one place as well as comments from places like Reddit, Livejournal etc. Its snappy, allows sharing and bookmarking and subscription from Google+ and Facebook. To get started, sign in, import subscriptions from Google reader or from an OPML file.

6. Feedly

This reader is a browser add on which is also available on Android. You can install it on Firefox or Chrome (Pro tip: You need to restart Firefox the browser after installation.) All you need to do is to install the plugin and sign in with Google. It will fetch content from your Reader app and display it for you. The plugin seems to be using Google Reader on the back end. So this might stop working when Google finally shuts the service unless they come up with a way they can take over from Google. Update: They have come up with a service to help you transition from Google reader. Here’s more on that.

7. Flipboard

This is one of the most popular new generation reading apps out there. Flipboard is an app and doesn’t have web services. It  lets you import from Google reader. You can click on the red ribbon on the app screen and sync your Google reader account with Flipboard. But if you are thinking “feed overload,” its a good idea to start from scratch. Its really easy to set up and you can pick from a variety of suggested feeds. You can also search and add feeds from publishers. Its a beautiful touch experience for heavy readers.

8. Pulse

Using Pulse is another way of reading on the web or mobile device. This one also belongs to the new genre of readers with beautiful interface and some amount of self learning capabilities. Like Flipboard, you can choose stories from different sources and also save them for later. Its got a nifty bookmarklet which you can use to sync your content across devices. Bookmarked content on your desktop shows up on your mobile device as well. It doesn’t allow you to import from Google reader.

Pro Tip: Most apps or feed readers won’t let you import the Zip file you downloaded with Google take out. Open the Zip file and extract the Subscriptions.xml file which most readers will recognize. You will see readers asking for “OPML file.” If you are a noob, its likely to confuse you. Use the Subscriptions.xml file here as well.

PS: If you really love Google reader, you can try pettitioning Google on www.keepgooglereader.com.