Goodbye, Google Reader
Last week, Google officially announced the sunset of Google Reader, a product I use almost daily. My head flooded with thoughts of 'What?! How can this be? What will I use now?' and I started reading articles on alternatives. I'm still pretty surprised by this decision, but I guess the signs were all there: bugs not being fixed, no new development, no user interface changes to match the new style of other products. But alas, I still had hope until last week.
My research on other RSS reader platforms resulted in two potential selections: Feedly and Bloglovin'. Specifically, this Mashable article led me to check out Feedly. I downloaded the Chrome App for Feedly, which you open from the apps listed on a new tab in Chrome, and it automatically imported my Google Reader subscriptions. It was super easy to set up and the UI is pretty good.
Feedly default view, upon opening the Chrome App
I like that Feedly shows which blogs you were following via Blogger. The colors are easy on the eyes, and there are options to filter by content posted 'Today' and to change the 'theme' (i.e. colors) of your Feedly dashboard. There are a few aspects I'm not a fan of, such as a Finance section and a few Ads. It also shows blogs that 'You might also like' - a feature which I could take or leave.
The Blogger-Following filter, note the suggestion section on the bottom right.
The second reader, Bloglovin', is noticeably (and not shockingly based on the name) more targeted to blogs and makes it super easy to find blogs to follow. Importing my Google Reader subscriptions took a bit more effort because I had to download the subscription file and then upload to Bloglovin', but it really wasn't hard to do. I have to say it was worth it - I'm liking the Bloglovin' UI. I'd found this a while back when I first started blogging, but I completely forgot about it until it came up on Twitter last week.
Default landing page upon opening Bloglovin'.
This site makes it easier to set up categories for blogs and you don't need the RSS feed link to add a blog; you just search for the blog name or URL. From my experience, Bloglovin' tends to find what I'm looking for. The 'all unread posts' view shows posts in the order they were added as opposed to what they think should be featured, which I prefer. Another bonus is that users can 'follow' your blog on Bloglovin', and that feels similar to using Google Friend Connect (which I removed from the blog too, sad.)
Bloglovin' allows users to set email preferences and will send a daily update of all blog posts, which I have discovered I like a lot. This way I see the blogs I want to follow easily and can click through the email instead of going to a separate site. I never though I'd be a follow by email person, but in the daily digest form it works for me.
These two tools are my current preferences, with Bloglovin' leading Feedly by a bit. If you want to join me on Bloglovin', use my follow link on the right-hand side of the blog to follow me there!
What is everyone out there using now? Have you switched yet or are you holding on until the last minute? Have you tried either of the ones I mention in this post? Let me know!