I have been testing several alternatives to Google Reader in order to make a fast transition, after Google announced they will close Google Reader by July. There are tons of posts listing alternatives to Google Reader, but after testing several tools, I have decided to use Feedly as my new RSS aggregator, and I’m sharing my thoughts about why Feedly is the best alternative to Google Reader, just if I can help anyone to make a faster decision instead of trying several alternatives.
It is an RSS aggregator
In most listings containing Google Reader alternatives, almost half of alternatives are not pure RSS aggregators, but applications that add an additional layer that helps you choose the best contents (RSS + discovery). I already use Zite as a content discovery tool (and it rocks), but for an RSS aggregator, I don’t want this additional features of reordering or help me filter the content. I have all my feeds ordered and I was looking for some tool similar to Google Reader that helped me continue processing those feeds as I’m used to. So I was not looking for Zite, Flipboard, Pulse, or any Twitter tool. I was looking for a “typical” RSS aggregator on the web.
Easy (and fast) transition
One of the first tools I have tested is The Old Reader, who states that preserves the essence of Google Reader. This RSS aggregator seems nice but when importing my subscriptions, The Old Reader shows a queue of users waiting for their subscriptions to be imported. After a couple of days, I have almost 30K users ahead of me. I have dismissed The Old Reader as an option, not only for having to wait a lot of time for my subscriptions to be available, but because I can’t rely on a service that can’t scale up when several thousands of users want to try it.
With Feedly, the transition is easy and really fast. You connect with your Google account and in a few seconds you have your subscriptions imported and ready to be consumed.
Really nice interface
I loved Google Reader, but I have to admit that Google Reader’s interface was not their best asset. Feedly has a really nice (and up to date) interface, not only in their web version, but also in their apps for smartphones (I’ll write about it later). During the firsts minutes, you need to adapt to this new interface, but as you use Feedly, you get used to it and find nice features such as being able to share the content on Google Plus, Twitter or Buffer (and it seems they are integrating also other services such as Pinterest and Evernote), tag content or even save it for later.
It has version for both iOs and Android
I have also installed Feedly for iOs on my iPhone, and I find it a really well designed RSS aggregator for smartphones. It’s really easy to navigate through your feed categories, and also to list articles and read any post. They also offer an app for Android devices, and for Kindle Fire, so Feedly is probably the RSS aggregator compatible with most devices. I’m sure we can find a better iPhone/Android app, but for me it’s interesting to use the same application in several devices so I can continue using my workflow when reading blogs (check them by priorities, choose the best news, tweet some of them, mark some other for being read later, etc.) in any device I use, so I don’t have to check and recheck all the feeds when using different devices.
They are working on several nice integrations
As I said before, Feedly have stated they are working on some nice integrations with services like Evernote and Pinterest. I’d like to use those integrations. In fact I’m used to send interesting news from Zite to Evernote, so being able to do the same when checking my RSS feeds is a nice feature for me. But what I think about these integrations is that Feedly seems to be continuously working on improving their product, so gives me some confidence about not needing to change my RSS aggregator in a few months.
Most Google Reader users are joining feedly
In less than 48 hours, Feedly has picked up 500.000 users from Google Reader, so it seems that most Google Reader heavy users are moving to Feedly. For me, that’s also a sign of confidence. If most heavy users are chosing Feedly, it’s more likely we are making a good decision (or at least not bad). And it also shows that the service’s user base will grow (a lot) in the next months, and that’s a good indicator because Feedly’s valuation will grow up, and they will be able to get more funding or grow in revenues (I’m not sure if Feedly has a revenues source right now) so they will be able to develop new features, etc.