The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Google Reader shuts down – where do we go now?

with 42 comments

feedreaderI keep track of about a hundred movie blogs. I know what they’re up to, day by day and I plunge into the posts that seem interesting. This doesn’t mean that I visit them all, and particularly not on a daily basis. In order to do that, I’d either have to quit my job or drop watching and writing about movies, dedicated all of my spare time to blog reading.

So how can I keep up with all those blogs? The answer until this day has been Google Reader, a service that collects all the blogs I follow into one feed that gives me a perfect overlook.

At a glance I can see all the headlines of today and if there’s one that interests me, it only takes a click to expand it to the full text. (In most cases. There are a few blogs that only gives away the first few lines and hide the rest behind a cut. But thankfully they’re in a minority.) I only get the essentials. I don’t need to put up with over decorated blogs that give me a headache just looking at them or annoying ads. It’s just the juicy and tasty content.

Being a blogger isn’t just to be a writer, it’s as much to be a reader and my participation in the blogosphere depends largely on the existence of a tool that helps me. I know there was a time before my discovery of Google Reader, when I used bookmarks and link lists to click my way around and pay regular visits to a number of blogs. But once I got used to using a feed, I couldn’t dream of going back to it. It’s just far too time consuming and inconvenient.

Shutting down
Google has now announced that they plan to shut down Google Reader within a few months.

This caused a major outcry on the internet. Apparently I was far from the only one to rely on it. Everywhere on Twitter you see angry comments, followed by the question: is there any alternative?

So far I’ve come up with the following:

Bloglines
This service is free. Registration was easy, but the interface is confusing and not intuitive. I tried to create an aggregated feed consisting of several subscriptions, but failed. I don’t think I’m going to use this unless someone talks me into it.

Feedly
This service is free.  It appears that you easily can convey your Google Reader account into the new reader. As far as I get it, it’s only available for certain platforms. If you use Firefox or Google Chrome, you can download a widget. I’m not sure how it works for other browsers.

Newsblur
This service has a basic level that is free and a premium level at 1$/month. It looks promising, but I haven’t been able to try it out. It seems as if the service isn’t dimensioned to receive the exodus from Google Reader. I’ll be back when things have cooled down a bit.

Suggested by the readers:

Bloglovin
Not so efficient in its use of space, but probably a good option if you’re interested in images on blogs.

Netvibes

The Old Reader
This is another smal enterprise that now is overwhelmed by the sudden spike of new customers. I was quite charmed by a blog post where they shared their vision. It seems like the kind of people I’d love to support. I just hope it’s sustainable.

WordPress
If you have a WordPress blog, there’s a built-in reader where you can follow all blogs, not only WordPress. You can import your Google Reader subscriptions. Since it includes not only the headline but a great part of the post in the feed, you don’t get the same quick overview as with Google Reader.

A question
Now I’ve got a question for the tech-savvy people out there! How do you keep track of the blogs you follow? Is there any service you particularly would recommend to other Google Reader refugees?

Please let me know and I’ll update this post with your suggestions!

There must be another way than to go back to tedious one-by-one visiting of blogs.

Written by Jessica

March 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm

42 Responses

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  1. I haven’t really investigated this news yet but I’m so surprised at Google giving up on a reader that is by far the biggest RSS service in the world. I’m thinking they’ll try to implement it to Google+ to get people to be more active on there.

    I seriously don’t know where I’m going from this point because I rely on at least 80% of my news and blog reading from Google reader.

    • Yes, from what I’ve picked up so far, they want to push people into Google+. I don’t want to go there. I wish they’d made it a paid service instead. I would easily have been ready to prepare a few bucks each month to keep the service. And I don’t think I’m alone.

      Jessica

      March 14, 2013 at 2:23 pm

  2. Ironically I just started using Google Reader this year and discovered that it made everything so easy.. so I feel especially mad about this. I just got my things all sorted and now, no more Google Reader NOR BlogLovin’! I follow on both sites different blogs and this means I have to sort through my blogs as well.. and the old system I had never worked. I’m just.. sad.

    mettelray

    March 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    • I’ve never tried out BlgLovin, but I get that this isn’t an alternative from what you say.
      Indeed it’s sad. And maddening.

      Jessica

      March 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      • NO ! I miss read their message: “Google Reader is shutting down July 1st.

        Make sure that your blog readers know that they’ll still be able to follow your blog through bloglovin. ”

        So it is an alternative! My bad! 😉

        mettelray

        March 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm

        • Is Bloglovin any good? In what way is it different to Google Reader?
          Edit: I just checked it out… It appears to be kind of clumsy. Am I right that each link to a new blog post takes a lot more space than in Google Reader? There are… like bubbles?

          Jessica

          March 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm

          • Yes, it is more comfortable for beauty/fashion blogs I follow that’s why I have separated them as such. Google Reader gives a good overview of the title while BlogLovin focuses on the images as well. I don’t know if one can change the way it appears though..maybe but maybe no.

            mettelray

            March 14, 2013 at 4:42 pm

            • Ah that makes sense. I don’t care much at all about the images, it’s all bout the text. So this is probably not a good option to me.

              Jessica

              March 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm

              • Hopefully you’ll find something more suitable for yourself! 🙂

                mettelray

                March 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm

  3. I’m in the same boat, I rely on google reader, use it nearly every day. I don’t know what I’ll without it. At least I have a link list of blogs/sites I follow. From what I’ve seen of google+ so far, I haven’t liked the interface. Thanks for listing those alternatives. I may give feedly a try!

    Chris

    March 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    • I’m in the same boat as you. Not keen on doing Google+. Google Reader was simple and had what I needed. Even if they didn’t want to develop it further, I can’t understand why they couldn’t let the fans keep it.

      Jessica

      March 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm

  4. It’s a shame as I also still use it. I have been using feedly on my tablet for a while and I like it. They had a blog post they will automatically move your feeds to their own backbone. Another alternative is Netvibes, which you can use in your browser and you can make it look like iGoogle or just a RSS reader. I use both these alternatives.

    A good tip is to already make an export of your subscriptions from Google Reader as a lot of alternatives offer import options.

    Another alternative of course would be to subscribe by email to all the blogs (which is what I use for movie blog reading)

    Nostra

    March 14, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    • I think that if I limited myself to subscribing by e-mail, I’d read much fewer blogs than I do now. It wold fill my mailbox quicker than I like otherwise.
      I checked out Netvibes quickly, but we haven’t become friends yet. I think I’ve become very very spoiled by the easiness of Google REader.

      Jessica

      March 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm

  5. I’m still experimenting but so far I think Feedly is the closest thing to Google Reader.

    Bonjour Tristesse

    March 14, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    • Cheers! I’ll look further into it and try downloading it.

      Jessica

      March 14, 2013 at 5:20 pm

  6. Yeah, I’m annoyed by this decision too. I’ve already been through this thing once back when Bloglines were closing down (I guess they’re back now, only worse) some time ago, but as it turned out, Google Reader was very similar to it only better. Now I guess I have to find a new home for my subscriptions again. What a bother.

    As to where to go, I don’t know. I figure since it’s still some time before GR closes, I can wait around for a bit and hear what others have done a month or two from now. I’m no eager pioneer. I’ll follow the path most travelled. As long as it looks to lead somewhere good.

    Emil

    March 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    • We’ve still got a few months to go and considering the fury this has caused I sense there’s an opportunity for others to step up and convince us about their superiority. I guess we can wait around for a bit and see what turns out to become the default reader.

      Jessica

      March 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm

  7. I know this might seem like a stupid question, but I’ve been using google blogger to get all of my links, so will that still be available or is that the same things as google reader?

    Bigplatts

    March 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    • I’m not sure I understand exactly what you mean. I used to be on blogger with a former blog and one of the benefits of that platform was that you could have an rssfeed as a link list to other blogs. Is that the one you mean? It seems stupid if they should rid themselves of a good feature of Blogger. But I’ve seen speculations on Twitter about this being the first step towards killing another application, Feedburner. So who knows? Maybe there’s some reader out there who knows this better and can help out?

      Jessica

      March 14, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      • I meant that on the Blogger homepage you “add blogs” and they just come up in a big feed. I’m not sure if that counts as google reader because I’ve never even been on reader, just used blogger to keep track of everything I follow. Thanks for the help anyway, I just didn’t really know who to ask because most bloggers don’t seem to know, and the google forums are dead.

        Bigplatts

        March 14, 2013 at 7:06 pm

        • I think Google isn’t particularly good in communicating with their customers. I remember from my time at Blogger that the support was non-existent. Sometimes stuff stopped to work for days, like commenting, and no explanation or ETA was given. So Im not surprised to hear about your issues and confusion.

          Jessica

          March 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm

  8. Great post. Surprised to see that Google is pulling the plug on its Reader. Weird. Anyhoo, the way I keep track of blogs is I subscribe and I get all the updates on my email. I don’t follow as many blogs as you, though. Once the posts are in my inbox, I get rid of things I don’t find particularly interesting. I end up reading almsot everything, though, haha!

    fernandorafael

    March 14, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    • Thanks Fernando! I could easily follow a few blogs by email, but I would have to cut out a huge amount of blogs and that would feel sad. Admittedly I have blogs in my reader that I barely ever read. But I like to… have them around me. And occasionally they come up with something I don’t want to miss. So the search is on for a replacement of Reader.

      Jessica

      March 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm

  9. That sucks. I always count on Google Reader to see what blogs to read for the day. This is crap man!

    ninvoid99

    March 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    • It is! I guess we just need to adapt and find a replacement. Or hope that they’ll change their mind after the uproar on the webs, but I’d be surprised if they did

      Jessica

      March 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm

  10. I found that The Old Reader was almost an exact simulacrum of G’s Reader. They cannot import at the moment due to the huge volume of requests, but it passed my first test. I’m also testing Feedly, which is a nice presentation, and has a mobile option too.

    typhoonandrew

    March 14, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    • There’s a reader called The Old Reader? I didn’t get that. I’ll add it to the list of ideas to ceck out and get back to it later. Thank you!

      Jessica

      March 14, 2013 at 11:03 pm

  11. This obviously isn’t the best way to go, but I quite like WordPress’s feed… and only just now realized that you actually can add non-Wordpress.com blogs to it.

    Bubbawheat

    March 15, 2013 at 12:37 am

    • You can? I didn’t know that. I’ll add it a another option!

      Jessica

      March 15, 2013 at 7:04 am

      • Yeah, if you go to edit your followed list, you can type a URL at the top and if it’s not a wordpress blog, it just has the RES icon instead of the wordpress icon.

        I’m not a fan of their mobile app though, it’s extremely slow. Aside from that, I use Twitter to find most of the posts I’m interested in, it also helps that the better ones get shared a lot.

        Bubbawheat

        March 15, 2013 at 10:39 pm

  12. I must admit I gave Google Reader a try but I don’t know, I never really managed to get on with it for some reason. So I am still going by the very old-fashioned method of remembering urls – not even using a favourites folder. Not that I am advocating this method! It does necessarily reduce the number of blogs one generally follows – in my case I suppose I check up to a score of blogs daily, and perhaps a further 20-30 irregularly.

    stnylan

    March 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    • That’s not a bad way! I used that method for the longest on my own blog. Unless I find a good alternative I could as well go back to it. Though it would decrease my amount of blog Reading quite a bit.

      Jessica

      March 17, 2013 at 10:19 pm

  13. This was always going to happen. Google reader cuts out adverts which must really annoy a lot of the bigger sites

    themoviewaffler

    March 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    • Maybe. But I’m pretty sure there will come up alternatives. And people will keep trying to find ways around the ads.

      Jessica

      March 17, 2013 at 10:22 pm

  14. Half the internet is mad at google for stealing their Google Reader, I am 🙂

    A friend posted this on facebook:
    http://lifehacker.com/5990456/google-reader-is-getting-shut-down-here-are-the-best-alternatives

    carrandas

    March 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    • Thats a great link! It increases my motivation to try out The Old Reader, which seems to be very close to Google Reader in looks and function.

      Jessica

      March 17, 2013 at 10:25 pm

  15. I use Google Reader, too. Thanks for this helpful post.

    quirkybookandfilmbuff

    March 16, 2013 at 10:38 pm

  16. Are there any readers with an auto translate function? I read a lot of international sites but as I can only read English and Irish, readers aren’t much use to me

    themoviewaffler

    March 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    • I’m honesty not sure what you mean there. You’re following sites in other languages than English? Hm. Well thinking of it, would make sense to combine Google Reader with Google Translate, but tbh i haven’t Heard of any reader doing this. I’m no particularly good at those things though.

      Jessica

      March 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      • Yeah, there are a ton of French and Spanish sites I use google translate for. Admittedly the translation isn’t great but I can get by. The problem is I have to visit these sites to do so as GR won’t translate them

        themoviewaffler

        March 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm

        • You are so ambitious! I have to admit that I only follow English and Swedish blogs at this point. I guess I miss out a lot.

          Jessica

          March 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm


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