Google Reader alternatives

If you're unhappy with the changes to Google Reader, we've highlighted some alternative feed aggregators to consider.

Ed Rhee
Ed Rhee, a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is an IT veteran turned stay-at-home-dad of two girls. He focuses on Android devices and applications while maintaining a review blog at techdadreview.com.
Ed Rhee
4 min read

Google recently revamped Google Reader to a healthy dose of criticism. If you're unhappy with the changes to Google Reader, we've highlighted some alternative feed aggregators to consider.

We've broken down the choices to Web, Android, and iOS, but some apps are available across multiple platforms and devices.


Feedly (Firefox and Chrome) Feedly is an aggregator that actually pulls feeds from Google Reader. It offers different viewing styles, including titles, magazine, mosaic, and full article. Feedly also has one of the most comprehensive sharing options we've seen. Items can be sent to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+, and more. To use Feedly, you first have to install the appropriate extension for your Web browser (Firefox, Chrome, or Safari), then you log in using your Google Reader account. In addition to supporting multiple browsers, Feedly apps are available for iOS and Android. The best part? They all sync with Google Reader so you won't have to sift through articles you've already read on one device, when you open Feedly on another device.

Feedly Web
Screenshot by Ed Rhee

Netvibes Netvibes is a Web-based feed aggregator that supports widgets. You can change the feed view to suit your preferences so if you don't like the widget look, you can have your feeds display in list form or even a mosaic view with graphical thumbnails. Sharing can be done over Facebook and Twitter or sent over e-mail. Netvibes doesn't have a mobile app, but the mobile version of the site works well. If you like accessing your feeds from any computer or mobile device, give Netvibes a look. The basic version is free.

Slick RSS (Chrome) Slick RSS is a very simple RSS reader extension for the Google Chrome browser and supports importing feeds via an OPML file. It's fast, easy to use and has a notification button. Unfortunately, it lacks sharing options and its use is tied to the computer you install it on.

Brief (Firefox) Brief is a Firefox extension that's similar to Slick RSS for Chrome.

NewsFox (Firefox) NewsFox is another Firefox extension, but has a three-pane interface that looks a lot like the old Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail client. It even supports folders and tags. Just like Slick RSS and Brief, NewsFox is quick but ties you down to using the computer and browser that it's installed on.


gReader gReader is an Android app that relies on Google Reader for feeds. It supports two-way sync, offline reading and a mosaic view. If you have a tablet, gReader is nice because of its Honeycomb support.

gReader for Android
Screenshot by Ed Rhee

NewsRob NewsRob is another Android app that ties in to Google Reader for the feeds and keeps them synchronized. A nice aspect of NewsRob is that it supports offline reading. The ad-supported app has a paid version available for $5.99.

Feedly The mobile Feedly app syncs with Google Reader, just like the Web browser versions. It works well, but the layout is limited to a mobile version of their magazine layout; there's no text-only layout for quick scanning of new items.

Pulse News The Pulse News reader is all about a pretty interface, using a mosaic layout for feeds. You can also grab feeds from Google Reader and add them to pages. To help keep your feeds organized, you can configure multiple pages. Pulse works well on Android phones, but the mosaic layout really stands out on tablets.


Flipboard (iPad) The superlatives used to describe this free iPad app are endless. A beautiful magazine layout is the killer feature on Flipboard. It also integrates Facebook and Twitter content into its layout for a fun and unique way to browse those feeds. Of course, Google Reader feeds can be added as well.

Flipboard on iPad
Screenshots by Flipboard

Feedly The Feedly magazine layout looks great on the iPad. Like the Android app, it syncs with its Web browser brethren, using Google Reader as the source for feeds. If you're using mixed devices and browsers, Feedly will keep them all in sync.

Newsrack Newsrack is a premium app that's available for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac OS X. The mobile version is universal, so you only have to pay for it once, to use it on both the iPhone and iPad. It works independently of Google Reader, but can sync with Google Reader as well. It has a nice clean layout with support for a list view.

Pulse News Like the free Android app, Pulse uses a beautiful mosaic layout to present your feeds. It integrates with Google Reader too and has offline features. The iPad version is easier to use because of the larger screen real estate.

Reeder Reeder is premium Google Reader app with a good set of sharing options and a nice layout. There's an iPad version that looks great, and an OS X (10.6.6 or later) app is available as well.

Exporting Google Reader subscriptions

Google Reader allows you to export your subscriptions, which you can then import into another reader, as long as they support OPML. To export your Google Reader subscriptions:

Step 1: Go to your Google Reader settings then click on the "Import/Export" tab.

Step 2: Click on the "download" link in the "Your subscriptions" row, under the "OPML" column.

Export Google Reader subscriptions
Screenshot by Ed Rhee

Step 3: Save the XML file.

Step 4: Follow the directions of the new reader you want to import your Google Reader subscriptions into. Most just require browsing to the XML file and clicking the import button, though some may require you to open the file to copy and paste it.

That's it. Will you be switching from Google Reader to one of the alternatives above? Or do you know of another great alternative? Let us know in the comments.