I was not alone who got annoyed, angry and a bit hurt when they logged into their Google Reader and found that the much loved RSS reader had decided to take an (early) retirement and will be becoming one with the likes of Google Wave on the 1st of July. It meant I spent the next few days researching alternatives, and after some research, decided that Feedly will be the one that replaces Reader.
It was actually quite straight forward. Feedly synchronizes with Google Reader, which means you don’t have to do anything other than log on to it with your Google ID. Once logged on, it picks up your feeds exactly as you left them in Google Reader. What is read has remained read and the folders and structures remain as they were too. Even better, since it is constantly synced with Reader, you can always hop between either while you try Feedly out. This low risk gentle way of shifting between one and the other was what led me to choose this as my Google Reader alternative.
Why I use an RSS Reader
Before I go into explaining what I liked and did not like about Feedly, it is very important that I explain what I use Feedly for. I work as an electronics engineer and being up to date with the latest technology pretty much comes with the job. I often spend time at work looking through what is new out there, and RSS feeds are pretty much the best way to stay in touch with everything. Since I use it to so much at work, it is only obviously that I would rather use it on my computer about 60-70% of the time instead of on my mobile or tablet.
- Feedly syncs everything that is read, unread and all your feed and their folders perfectly with Google Reader. This means that you will not loose any data or your years of hard work if you use Feedly.
- This also means that you can hop between Reader and Feedly with no difference of your feeds. Add something on your list at Feedly, and it is already a part of your Reader list. This two way synchronization works wonders.
- Unlike some other RSS readers out there, this has apps for Android and Apple OS. That means you can use it and it will be in sync on different accounts.
- It does not work on the browser in the conventional way. You need to install it as an app on Chrome and as an add on for Firefox. This also means that it does not work on Internet Explorer. There may be a way but it is safe to say that I haven’t tried very hard.
- The interface is fairly similar on all apps to what you expect from Reader. It does make a few minute changes to what you get from Reader, but I think it is safe to assume that this is almost a requirement. The UI actually looks better and cleaner than the very basic and simple UI offered by Reader.
- Plenty of ways to personalize Feedly. You can change colours, sort out your views, and plenty more.
Things to watch out for:
- There is no app for Blackberry or Windows Phone as of now. This is not uncommon for many apps though. However, because it does not run in a browser in the conventional way, you cannot simply use it via your browser on those phones.
- The experience on Chrome and Firefox can be slow at times. If you have to go through hundreds of articles in a sitting, this is probably not the best app to play with.
- They are using the Google API to do this, and this may be the reason they can be slow. It is acting as a server that delivers data to you from the Google API.
- After going through a certain number of feeds on the browser, you have to Refresh it to load some more. That can be annoying.
- It also seems to reload already read messages over and over again if you are skimming through articles.
For someone who has used Feedly and Reader in a mix since the news went public, the idea of leaving Reader is still a bit annoying. That is mainly because at the moment, Feedly works really good as an app but not so great through the browser. However, the total synchronization with Reader means that the app can be used as and when you like. So far I am using Reader in the browser more and more while Feedly is being used more as an app.
At the moment, this is the best alternative I have found. Also, since they were a bit overwhelmed with the extra users who have joined them, I imagine the services shall get better as time goes on. They may experiment with new UI features and other things. However, as of now, I am not looking forward to the 1st of July.
A great service, but not quite there yet. However, it is the best I have found.
[pb-app-box pname=’com.devhd.feedly&feature=nav_result#’ name=’Feedly’ theme=’light’ lang=’en’]