8 Google Reader alternatives for your PC

Google Reader will be shut down as of July 1, but never fear. Here are eight desktop and laptop alternatives to keep track of your favorite Web site updates.

Google Reader is going away. Which desktop RSS managers are sticking around? Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

It's no surprise to Google obsessives that the company announced yesterday that it will draw the curtains on its popular RSS-managing Reader service. So what are you supposed to do with your 60 bazillion feeds?

First off, you can export them using Google Takeout. That's an important step to take so you don't lose track of any of the sites you're following. It lets you download your feeds output, called OPML, as a ZIP. Then you extract it all to a folder, and upload them to your prefered Reader replacement service. But which one do you go with?

Nick Bradbury, the creator of a popular Windows desktop RSS reader, just announced that he will shutter FeedDemon after 10 years. "Personally, I like Feedly both on the desktop (well, browser) and on mobile, although the magazine-style format takes some getting used to if you're coming from a river-of-news reader like FeedDemon," he wrote to CNET in an e-mail today.

For something more like FeedDemon, this is going to take a lot of trial and error for most people. Which Reader alternative you choose will depend on your RSS feed reading habits.

If you read your feeds mostly from a browser like Feedly or a mobile device, my colleagues Jaymar and Jason have you covered on mobile and Web-based Reader alternatives . If you're looking for something self-contained on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, or as a browser add-on, here are x alternatives. And if you've got a favorite we missed, or one for Linux, let us know in the comments.

For all of them, we recommend you set them up to sync with Google Reader, and then disable sync and switch over when you've found the one you like best.

Standalone software

FeedReader FeedReader

FeedReader looks to be one of the best Google Reader alternatives. It offers standalone software for Windows and Linux, and has a full-featured browser-based site, as well. FeedReader provides its users with a robust RSS search service, separate from Google.

RSSOwl RSSOwl

RSSOwl This Windows, Mac, and Linux client benefits from being fully cross-platform, as well as light on your system resources. You can group entries, flip to a newspaper-style view, search by keyword, and re-use searches by saving them.

GreatNews is a Windows-only client, also lightweight like RSSOwl. Honestly, it appears to offer fewer features than RSSOwl, although it does promote the ability to change view types to one that removes banner and blinking ads.

Vienna Vienna

The Mac-only Vienna gets regular updates thanks to an active community of developers and the fact that it's open-source. It comes with a built-in tabbed browser, global search, auto-detection of RSS on Web sites, smart folders for organizing, and several custom display styles. As you can tell from the screenshot, it fits right in with the OS X design scheme -- there's no clunky porting here.

Reeder for Mac and iOS comes with the standard RSS management features, as well as some clever extras such as disabling plug-ins like Flash, posting directly to Facebook and Twitter, and saving to a host of services such as Instapaper, ReadItLater, Readability, Pinboard, Delicious, Zootool, and Evernote.

Reeder Reeder

NetNewsWire is a veteran stalwart for both Macs and iOS. It became popular in part because of its broad keyboard shortcut support, ease-of-use, and its clean look.

NetNewsWire NetNewsWire

For Linux, Liferea remains pretty much the top candidate around. Broad offline support, syncing with Google Reader and TinyTinyRSS, and very straightforward (albeit maybe too simple for some) feature set. It does contain some power user options, like subscribing to a Gmail inbox feed.

Liferea Liferea

What about FeedDemon? FeedDemon is an old favorite for managing RSS on your desktop, but the founder, Nick Bradbury, just announced that after 10 years he's closing its doors.

Browser add-ons

Chrome does not natively support RSS feed discovery the way that every other major browser does, and the extension that Google built to give it that feature has been removed from the Chrome Web Store.
Feedly for browsers Feedly

That said, one of the best browser-based RSS readers out there is Feedly. Along with its Android and iOS apps for mobile syncing, it also works in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

Feedly is worth checking out for its image-heavy layout that nevertheless manages to be quite zippy. Starring articles becomes "save for later" in Feedly, keyword tagging is supported, and there are some useful preferences such as customizable link colors -- helpful for the color-blind.

Let us know your favorite desktop and browser add-on RSS managing tips in the comments.

 

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