Feed Readers

*Update* See later post here, where I’ve switched to CommaFeed.

Since Google Reader is abandoning us, I’ve been checking out a few different feed readers.

Some were just awful, and I hated them (I’m looking at you, NetVibes!). The only two I could see myself using were Feedly and The Old Reader. For now, I’ve decided to use The Old Reader. Here are some of my thoughts on the two of them:

Feedly is pretty good, and has an attractive magazine-like interface, but I have a few issues with it. For one, it seems too complicated. I don’t need or want all of the additional social media “stuff”. By customizing it to get rid of the pieces I didn’t want, and using the “latest” view as my default, it worked pretty well for me, though. I liked the “go to top” button (the up arrow with a line over it) which shows up as you scroll down the list, and I also liked that it was easy to mark an item as unread if I wanted to come back to it later without using the “save for later” bookmark. What I didn’t like was the lack of navigation buttons to go to the next or previous article. There are keyboard shortcuts, but I have a hard time remembering that they’re “H” (previous) and “J” (next).  “N” and “P” will select the next/previous article, but that doesn’t actually open it. Another concern is that they currently use Google Reader as their back end. They’re building their own sync engine, but who knows how well that will work when Google Reader pulls the plug?

The Old Reader isn’t pretty like Feedly, but it has just what I need and not all the other junk. Clean and simple. The interface is the one that is most like Google Reader. As far as I can tell, you have to sign into The Old Reader using either a Google or Facebook account. If you’re using Google Reader, though, you obviously have a Google account. There are convenient up and down arrows to navigate through the list of articles, and you can set it to a list view which just shows the titles:

The Old Reader screenshot - list view

or the full view which shows part of the article:

The Old Reader screenshot - full view

Sorry I don’t have great examples in my screenshots, but I had read everything else.

What I’m not crazy about is that there’s not really a “save for later” button. There’s a “like” button that can be used in the same way, though, so I’m happy enough with that, even though it seems a bit odd to “like” an article that I haven’t even read. The other slight drawback is that if I just mark an article as read to keep it in the list, it won’t keep that setting if I scroll past it again later, the way Google Reader did – so sometimes articles I want to keep as “unread” end up getting marked as “read” and disappear. That pretty much forces me to use the “like” button if I know it’s something I’m not going to get to for a few days.

Also, articles don’t seem to show up in The Old Reader as quickly as they do in Feedly, but I suspect that’s due to the Google Reader backend for Feedly, which will be changing when they have to start using their own syncing engine.

If you use a lot of social media, you might prefer Feedly. But if you just want a bare-bones reader for your blogs, The Old Reader is a good choice.

Another thing to consider: If you use your reader on multiple computers or devices, that may make a difference for you, too. The Old Reader is website-based, so you don’t need an app – just point your browser to the website. Feedly requires you to install an app on your mobile devices. You may have a preference for one or the other. I hate having to install apps if I don’t need to, which makes The Old Reader an even better choice for me.

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7 Responses to Feed Readers

  1. Chris says:

    I hated NetVibes!

    I had a lot of saved items, which I didn’t see a way to bring over to TOR – that turned out to be a make it or break it deal for me. And with the latest Feedly update (Monday? Tuesday?), it got a lot more GR-like. I don’t use any of the social media things, either.

    I do like the Android app a lot – it’s very similar to the old GR app, but prettier and more functional.

  2. Carole says:

    I’m clinging to Google Reader until the bitter end but then I plan on going over to The Old Reader, too. Unless, of course, something better comes along!

  3. zeneedle says:

    It’s just plain aggravating. I once had so much love for Google and they’ve hurt me over and over. 😦 I’ll get over it and Old Reader will be become old hat. le sigh

  4. kitten says:

    I’m on Feedly right now (just switched yesterday) and I haven’t played with it much, but there are a couple things that are making me nuts. However, I HATE using the browser on my phone, except to open the link from reader and comment, so I need that app. (Otherwise I have to wait until I have time to go to the computer at home and comment, which could be days. Weeks, even.)

  5. Marilyn says:

    Thanks for the info on these two. I’m gonna need to pick one. What I don’t understand is Google is quitting Reader in the first place…

  6. Pingback: Stumbling Over Chaos :: Linkity is tired of snow (even thundersnow)

  7. Cookie says:

    I looked at feedly and was appalled by how ugly is it. I moved it all over to an add-on for fx. I still miss my Next button, but otherwise I’m happy.. and how often do I say that? *L*

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