The Google Reader Apocalypse is Upon Us. Here's How to Migrate.

Despite much weeping and gnashing of teeth in the online world, Google is unceremoniously killing what many consider to be the best RSS reader on the planet. If you are one of the 300,000+ readers who access Strobist through Google Reader, here are three good choices to keep the party rolling.

You have about one week to figure out how to exist in a post-Google Reader world. As of next weekend, the lights go out for good. If you depend on Google Reader (as I long have) here are three ways you can get your RSS fix with relatively little pain.

Import Your Feeds to a New Reader

The current best choice for many has been Feedly. Lots of people have already migrated (including yours truly) and they make importing your existing Google Reader feeds very easy.

They have a good app, available in iOS and Android, which I actually prefer to the web interface of Google Reader. But the desktop web interface, while slick, is not as intuitive and lightning fast as is the soon-to-be-dead gold standard Google version.

Working like hell to launch before next weekend (talk about a real deadline) is the new reader from Digg. Just squeaking under the wire, they plan to launch on Wednesday. (Thanks for all the eval time, guys...) But the beta folks who have gotten to test drive Digg's reader early are singing it's praises. So there's hope it'll be great.

Here's my suggestion for a migration strategy: Migrate your feeds to both Feedly and the Digg reader. Install both apps (presuming Digg will have an app here, too) onto your phone.

Use both, and your subconscious will select one for you. You'll just find yourself using the one you like better, automatically. But whichever you choose, it is important to migrate to both by next weekend while you still have access to your data on Google. Maybe wait until Thursday to do Digg, as I am sure they'll be hammered on Weds. But do it, lest you lose all.

Use Twitter or Google Plus as Your Reader

Most blogs echo new posts to Twitter and or G+, and following on your most-used social media site is a painless way to keep an eye out for new material.

I say painless, but that is not always true. If you follow any of the photo-aggregator blogs, you'll quickly see that they often post half a dozen times a day. It can get to be a bit much.

With a focus primarily on original content, Strobist publishes 1.5x-2x/week. So following on Twitter or G+ is not overly burdensome to your stream and that won't change. Post-Google Reader, I will make sure to echo new posts to Twitter and G+, so that will be a surefire way to keep up.

Both Strobist's Twitter and Google Plus streams include other content as they are not merely new-post announcement vehicles. Also, I am not so formal and rigid (or clothed, for that matter) as on the main site. All bets are kinda off. If this is a drag, you should choose another method.

The disadvantage with Twitter is you basically only get a headline or a tease rather than the full RSS text-before-jump. That said, I endeavor to keep the overhyped headlines to an absolute minimum.

Strobist in Your In-Box

Given that Strobist is not a hyper-frequent blog, many choose to subscribe by email. At one-to-two posts per week, it is minimally intrusive. Plus, you get the lead photo and the entire pre-jump text.

Subscribing is super easy. Just click here, and enter your email address. You'll get a verification email. Follow that link and you are in like Flynn.

And it should go without saying that I don't spam readers and I don't sell your info. Because, duh.

I'll be honest. Losing Google Reader next weekend is gonna suck. But losing you as a reader would suck even more.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you on the other side.


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Blogger Phil B said...

Feeddler is my RSS app of choice, for it's clean/no-frills interface and seamless syncing with Google Reader. But since Feeddler has no web- or OSX-based counterpart, I currently use Google Reader when I'm on the computer.
Right after Google's announcement Feeddler claimed that it would not go away with Google's API, but hasn't made another mention of it since. So I signed up for Feedly just in case, and as a web-based solution, but I really hope Feeddler doesn't die, because it is comparatively much faster and cleaner than Feedly's app, IMO.

June 21, 2013 6:47 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Feed Wrangler is what I'm going to switch to. $19 a year, but no ads and less worry about disappearing. Integration with 3rd party apps in the works. The "smart streams" concept looks pretty cool too.

June 21, 2013 7:09 PM  
Blogger ohnostudio said...

I went over to Netvibes/Bloglines. A few oddities here and there, but not too bad. The important part about migrating is to ensure (especially at this point with Reader on the brink of death) is that whatever you select does have its own export capabilities.

One of the reasons I haven't gone to a few of the services is that some require a tie in to a Google or Facebook acct. There may come a day when I just ditch both of those, so I would rather be unfettered.

A giant thanks for all of your great posts - I don't say that often enough.

June 21, 2013 7:55 PM  
Blogger JimDonahue said...

I just Bookmark Strobist to my Photography folder and check back frequently 5 times a week

June 21, 2013 9:37 PM  
Blogger Nathan Derksen said...

I've been quite happy with NewsBlur. I was able to automatically import all my Google Reader feeds without much fuss, and I like the iPhone app that works alongside the Web version.

June 21, 2013 9:57 PM  
Blogger Bryan said...

I honestly don't know why anyone really cares, RSS is as outdated as newsgroups. I have not used it in many years, and less than 1% of my 180k monthly site views are to my feed.

June 21, 2013 10:12 PM  
Blogger Thomas Marvel said...

In like Flint
James Coburn 1967

June 21, 2013 10:42 PM  
Blogger Spike said...

No one seems to notice that Feedly is missing a critical piece of functionality. There is no way to export your feeds and data from it, as you can with Google Reader. So six months from now, if Feedly shuts down, you're truly screwed.

June 21, 2013 11:31 PM  
OpenID alexkunz said...

I'd like to throw in to the mix - very much like Google Reader, web only.

June 22, 2013 2:00 AM  
Blogger Ed Marshall said...

Another happy Newsblur user here. Importing my feeds was easy, and their revenue stream is selling an awesome RSS service to me, not selling my data. I appreciate that these days.

(Also, open source from top to bottom, so I could host it myself if they went out of business. This is more interesting to geeks, less interesting to non-technical folk.)

Bryan: might I suggest then, that this isn't for you? Some of us find a standard for decentralized content syndication useful; you don't, and that's cool. Just, perhaps, consider that your use case isn't a universal one.

June 22, 2013 2:23 AM  
Blogger Eugene Bogorad said...

Newsblur has two features nearly every other product lacks. Whether you need those - is another question.

1. A lot of publishers (including this site) limit the amount of content shared inside RSS (regardless of reason). Built-in Readability support allows me to read pages without leaving NewsBlur.

2. Built-it sharing allows me to read what my friends find relevant when I'm into reading news (i.e. using NewsBlur), NOT when I want to know what's going on with their lives (i.e. browsing social networks).

A clear winner for me.

June 22, 2013 2:24 AM  
Blogger m.s. said...

@Spike: feedly OPML import and export coming in July, see comments in their latest blog post.

June 22, 2013 3:02 AM  
Blogger Daniel Hummelmann said...

I've successfully migrated to feedbin. I gladly pay the 20 bucks a year for their service. Think about it. They get paid and have something to work with.
People want free, but you end up paying for it anyway...with ads and privacy violations.
And their service is great. I haven't missed Google Reader for a split second since I migrated everything over to feedbin.
Disclaimer: I have no connection to them, I'm just a happy customer. Go feedbin!

June 22, 2013 4:18 AM  
Blogger said...

I feel this may be the end of the web for me. I have been using RSS/NetNewWire on iPhone/Mac, synced with Google to scan hundreds of curated headlines a day for a decade. I feel a bit lost, sad, and angry.

I have tried Feedly but so far it doesn't look like the service will work with my NNW. The Feedly app seems designed for browsing like a magazine rather than scanning; for leisure rather than work. And, for example, it wouldn't let me add a comment here via iPhone. I had to switch to computer and type in the blog name, like it was 1996.

And there's no Mac client for Feedly. I don't use web sites instead of apps as they are slow and clunky. This is also causing problems with Twitter, as I've noticed the apps seem to get left behind. Features are missing. I may just take a sabbatical from the web. Publish only. Stop reading. Blah.

I have enjoyed Strobist for some time now, so thanks for that.

June 22, 2013 6:33 AM  
Blogger filipl said...

I have never ever used Google Reader but have been using Feedly for years. Happy I am spared the trouble of migrating. Whoever is planning to move to Feedly, won't regret it. It's a daily choice, great mobile app, fantastic Chrome integration. Good luck!

June 22, 2013 1:35 PM  
Blogger Captured Keepsakes said...

Please be gentle... I've been a little out of the loop. So does this mean if you have a account and post in there weekly, it won't exist after July 1st? If so, how do you tranfer your previous posts over to another account? Again, be nice, I'm fragile.

June 22, 2013 6:54 PM  
Blogger Brett said...

I migrated to InoReader and it has been an excellent experience. It is very familiar to a long-time Google Reader user.

June 23, 2013 9:33 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...


Blogger/Blogspot is not being retired. Google Reader is. (whew.)

June 23, 2013 12:44 PM  
Blogger Chance said... is another promising reader and is attempting to bring back the sharing aspect that Reader retired a year or so. It's in limited beta for now, but use the key hive_chance to give it a shot (limited use, but @hivereader posts new keys here and there on Twitter).

June 23, 2013 3:04 PM  
Blogger Marco Presi said...

I never used Google reader so I can't tell how it compares. However on my android device I use Google Currents to read strobist. It works very well.

Oh and thanks for sharing your strobist experience with us!



June 23, 2013 4:06 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

Netvibes ......

June 23, 2013 11:49 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

Thank you again, David, for the useful advice and info. My 2 cents: I signed up with Google Reader then just never used it so I guess I'm one of the lucky ones (this time). My RSS feeds are collected in My Yahoo which, like everything else, will not suit everyone but works for me. Goodbye to Google Reader then.

As an aside, I recently switched from using Google for all of my web searches to duckduckgo and I'm pleasantly surprised by its performance and pleased that it has some respect for our privacy. Google (the company) do great things but could be accused of privacy abuses. They also, allegedly, go out of their way to pay no, or less, tax than they should (at least in the UK). While this could be argued as good business sense, it feels like it's the polar opposite of the image they like to project as an organisation.

June 24, 2013 7:58 AM  
Blogger David Ponting said...

Thanks for the advice! A particular point of praise is that you are about the only one, out of the many sites and blogs that I subscribe to by Google Reader, that has actually mentioned its imminent demise and given advice as to where to go.

Feedly here I come...

June 24, 2013 9:03 AM  
Blogger Morne Condon said...

I've found the use of Flipboard a far more attractive option in terms of how I use the web. Tablet and phone is where I spend my time reading so it works for me.

On my laptop and pc I'm quite happy to visit the site so I doubt I'll be missing Google Reader - or any RSS reader for that matter.

Mobile for RSS is where it is at for me.

June 24, 2013 3:35 PM  
Blogger jason mechler said...

tt-rss is a self-hosted application that performs essentially the same function as google reader, and you are completely in control of your data. If you have your own website with database capability, you can host there, on a server at home, etc. I switched over to it about a month ago with zero hiccups. It even imported the 100's of articles that my wife had starred on google reader

June 24, 2013 6:28 PM  
Blogger spottheblogger said...

Note: as long as you have saved your subscriptions fron Google Reader, you don't necessarily need to sign-up with all the Reader alternatives right away. Your saved (exported) Reader file can be imported to other Reader alternatives later, if your first choice underwhelms you.

I'm using TheOldReader for now. I tried Feedly, but was unimpressed with the options and their default "magazine" format - not interested in going feed-by-feed to select the list format for new posts. (I subscribe to a lot of feeds that I scan, then only read a few articles rather than reading everything - obviously my reader habits are not for everyone.)

June 25, 2013 3:37 AM  
Blogger Ian said...

Just for fun, out of interest, I went over to have a look at Feedly and the front page told me "feedly is over capacity
Sorry. The team is looking into the issue. Technical Error Code:"

Perhaps the Strobist recommendation strikes again? Better too many subscribers than not enough, eh? :o)

June 25, 2013 6:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I use Thunderbird . its a great way to integrate your email and news/rss accounts all into one easy to use interface. Plus you get the functionality of a full featured email program.

June 28, 2013 11:25 AM  
Blogger elenabulygina said...

I am a photographer, been reading Strobist since ancient times. And I am of two people behind The Old Reader, so the choice is obvious.

We have released an API recently, and you can use The Old Reader with Feeddler and gReader (beta).

June 29, 2013 8:06 AM  
Blogger m.s. said...

June 29, 2013 3:18 PM  
Blogger AarJan Kraai said...

It looks like there is a risk of vendor lock-in using the alternative solutions.

I decided to host the aggregator myself. All you need is a php and mysql hosting server and the wonderful open source Tiny Tiny RSS program. They offer extra user interfaces and an Android client, able to download the feeds for offline viewing.


July 03, 2013 4:11 AM  

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