Happy Friday! Today, Kayla and I are launching a new series where, each month, we’ll test-drive something (a product, an app, a system, etc) to find stuff that will make our lives and yours a little bit (or a lot!) easier and prettier.
This month, it’s Google Reader replacements.
I know. . . .who even wants to think about Google Reader going away forever in just a couple of weeks?
Since Kayla and I are both serious blog readers and also true lovers of Google Reader, we tried out a couple of different options each and chose our favorite.
I tried four: BlogLovin’, News Blur, Flipboard, and Feedly.
Before I tell you what I did and didn’t like about each one, let me share a little secret: I thought Google Reader was the best, but now I know better. I was just USED to Google Reader, but looking back I can see that they’d stopped adding functionality a long time ago – it wasn’t particularly fun to use, it didn’t have a great way for me to track different kinds of blogs (aka, ones I wanted to read EVERY POST from and ones that I wanted to browse when I had ten minutes before bed to just surf a bit), and it wasn’t great at interacting with my other social media.
So. . . actually, I’m not that sad to see Google Reader go away. Even if it wasn’t, I’d be switching.
Anyway, on to the four I tried:
I know a lot of people love BlogLovin’, and many of you recommended it
back when I asked for suggestions. But, and I say this with love, how
can you even stand it? I find it almost completely unusable.
Two major reasons I hate it?
- When you use it on a computer, it turns every feed into a partial feed. I know! EVERY FEED! I have zero tolerance for partial feeds, so this makes it a complete deal killer right here.
- No keyboard shortcuts. After nearly a decade of using Google Reader’s keyboard shortcuts, I cannot function with a reader that doesn’t allow them.
I will say that the app version for use on a mobile device is quite a bit better, but still not as good as the alternatives – it’s very very basic, with not a lot of great functionality, and also kind of bland and ugly. If you love BlogLovin’, I’m very sorry to be so rude about it. And also, you are a much more patient and good person than I am.
NewsBlur is actually quite excellent (it reminds me a lot of Google Reader) and has some great features. If there was no Feedly, I would choose this one. It’s still kind of not that lovely looking
One cool feature I haven’t seen elsewhere, you can train your feeds to only pick up posts tagged certain ways or written by certain authors – so you like my recipe posts but don’t want to read all my boring book reviews? Done! You subscribe to a big blog with many contributors but only like three of them? Done!
Flipboard is really gorgeous to use, but if you read more than about a dozen blogs, I think it is just too unwieldy. Also, I only found it very usable on my iPad. On a phone, it was just too teeny and small.
Which brings us to Feedly (cue the angels singing, etc):
This is the reader. It is practically perfect. (And it’s pretty. Which matters to me).
You can mark blogs as “Must-Reads” so that if you only want to see your very favorite blog posts, there they are. If you only want to see things that are new today, you can to that too.
Want the posts to open up directly on the blog itself, rather than just a white screen (meaning you can comment from right inside the reader)? Sure thing. You can pin things right to Pinterest from the reader (if you’re on a computer).
The app versions are terrific too. Seriously, I love Feedly. It’s made blog reading fun again for me.
I think I might have to do a separate post on all the features I love about it (would anyone actually read that post?).
But this post is not meant to be a love song to Feedly. It’s just to tell you that if you’re looking for a new RSS reader, Feedly’s the one.