BREAKING NEWS: Google Reader to Shut Down (Here’s My Favorite Alternative)

UPDATE #1: Feedly has now responded to the news and has a transition guide posted here.

UPDATE #2: No matter what you decide to do, you may want to use Google Takeout to export your existing data — in this case, your Reader but you can also download your information from other Google products — so you can keep a record.

UPDATE #3: I’m getting a lot of questions on how to customize Feedly to mimic Google Reader. Feedly just tackled that in a new blog post here (hint: change your view to Titles).

Just an hour ago, this post was half-written in my drafts and called “Why I’ve Dumped Google Reader (and What I’m Using Now).” And on February 27th, I tweeted this:

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But with the news that Google is shutting down Google Reader (spring cleaning, they call it — I call it evil, honestly, even though I’m usually pretty patient with free services…), I wanted to scramble and publish it ASAP, as I’m sure you’re wondering what to do next.

The best alternative to Google Reader now that it's being shut down

There are several good alternatives, and I’ve tried most.

But absolutely, my favorite is a service called Feedly.

I’ve been using it instead of Google Reader for about a month and on the web and on mobile, it’s a much better experience.

First and foremost, in the wake of the Google Reader change, Feedly actually imports your existing Google Reader feeds. So I’d head there now and start the migration. It pulls over exactly what you have on Reader — your folders, tags, etc., so you won’t lose anything.

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 8.42.31 PM

Inherently, the user interface and navigation is superior on Feedly — you can mark categories as read, rather than all posts. You can easily save for later, share to your favorite social networking sites, log in with your Facebook and Twitter pages to see what your friends are sharing, etc.

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 8.31.49 PM

And a bonus note on navigation — the mobile experience is phenomenal. I use Feedly on my iPhone and on my Google Nexus 7, which runs on Android, and both platforms allow quick and, frankly, fun features: short swipe to mark a single post as read, long swipe to mark entire page read, etc.

image image (1)

Speaking of “mark as read,” to me this is the single most important feature of Feedly — it’s completely customizable so you can mark everything above a certain point as read, posts older than a day/week as read, etc. Because I have so many subscriptions and so little time, I love being able to really keep track of what is new to me when I visit.

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 8.39.01 PM

You also control the layout — you can have a magazine style, or view in a mosaic/tiled page (those are just a few of the options). If you make Feedly your default reader, any time you click on an RSS icon, the feed will be added to your listening station.

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 8.31.34 PM

You can see how many subscribers a blog has, see recommendations based on what you’ve read, etc.

I wholeheartedly endorse Feedly, and planned to urge you to make the switch before Google Reader kicked the bucket. So it’s my recommended option for moving your RSS feeds with no muss, no fuss now.

P.S. I’ve already started moving my own feed/RSS link away from Feedburner, which is another Google product. Look for my how-to post soon, but spoiler alert: I’m moving to FeedBlitz.

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  1. says

    Thank you for the suggestion! I hate change and this is a big one. As a news junkie, I read so many news blogs (like TPM or ThinkProgress) that update 400 times per day. So much easier to read in a reader or I would have to be on the site all day. Will give Feedly a shot.

  2. Sarah W. says

    I’m confused about where tags are in Feedly. I’ve imported all my feeds, but I am so nervous to lose my precious tags (mostly recipes). How do I find/search stuff that I’ve previously tagged in Google Reader?


  3. Kelly says

    When I opened Reader and saw the announcement, I immediately thought you would have a post for us. Thank you!!

  4. says

    Thank you, thank you! This is so helpful. I didn’t like GR very much anyway.

    Have you figured out how to add a new subscription in Feedly? I can’t seem to figure it out!

    • says

      Sara – if you hover over the bars that hold your pop out of your profile/folders/etc. you’ll see it say +add website. Click that, then go and type or copy and paste the url into the search bar, it takes it a few seconds to find what you’re looking for, but then click add and tell it what folder you want it to go under.

      hope that helps!

  5. says

    I’m SO happy you posted this! I just logged in to catch up on my favorite blogs and felt a panic come over me when I saw that pop up. Then I saw this while browsing my reads and got so excited! Thank you! I’m looking forward to checking out Freedly!

  6. says

    Thank you so much for the info. I was wondering which service I would be using because I had no clue what else what else was out there.

  7. Karen@WaistingTime says

    Thank you! Someone emailed me the news last night and today I saw it for myself when I opened my reader. My reply to the email was something like “I’m sure Katy will have a suggestion.” And, sure enough:) Coincidentally for me, I have a big trip coming in July and combined with my lack of blogging for the past many months, had been slowly unsubscribing from some of the many blogs I used to read.

  8. Katie says

    Do you know how Feedly will operate once Google Reader ceases to exist? It seems to be linked so closely with Google Reader that I wonder if it will implode once it can no longer link up.

    • says

      I’m waiting for a comment from them BUT based on their latest blog posts, they import your existing feeds, so once you’ve moved things over to Feedly, it keeps its own records and if/when Google Reader disappears, you’ll be safe (see the Update #1 I posted at the top of this page for Feedly’s explanation).

  9. Lauren B says

    I was at a loss when I logged into my Google reader this morning. But I knew you would have the answer of what the heck do I do now!? Thanks, as always, for the great info!

  10. says

    I left a comment on the feedly blog, but do you know if there is a way to mark all posts to go oldest to newest instead of the new-old. You can do it for each blog but there doesn’t seem to be a way to do for all.

      • says

        Unfortunately it only allows you to do that for individual blogs not a global option (entire feed or categories). I’ll do it individually as I read. Just thought I’d check to see if I missed something! Thanks for responding so fast.

        • says

          Hmmm…can you explain more? (I promise, I’m not doubting you, I just want to be able to answer the same questions for others.)

          On my home page, if I click “All” on the left sidebar, I have the option — using the gear logo — to order by oldest first. I was also successful doing this by category.

          One note though…that option only exists for me when I’m in “titles” view, so make sure you’re not on Magazine mode or one of the other alternatives.

  11. Cheryll says

    I am not very tech savvy but it seems like Feedly only works with Firefox? Does that mean it won’t work with Internet Explorer? Do you use Firefox? Do you like it? I’ve never used anything but IE!

    • says

      I use it in Chrome and it works perfectly, and I know that Firefox is also supported.

      What happens when you try it with IE? Many tools no longer support IE as much (and certainly not older versions) because it’s just not as stable as FF and Chrome, but I believe you can use it — IE just doesn’t offer add-ons and other tools.

  12. Susie says

    Do you know how to get feedly to work when offline? I would always load up my greader before I went to the gym and then would read through (sans pics) without wifi. When I got home I would mark them as read. But with feedly, it doesn’t seem to have the option to load all available posts but rather only a few at a time. Suggestions?.

    • says

      I read on the blog today that offline reading is not supported but it’s coming soon. You can vote on features on their site if you want to let them know that you really want it!

      • Susie says

        Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly! The problem is, whenever I try to go to, I get redirected to the App Store….. I guess I’ll just wait for a while and then try again when they’ve got things updated a bit….

  13. Michel says

    You wrote: “you can mark everything above a certain point as read”.

    I’m curious how you do that, because I can’t find that option and I’d really like to use that option.

    • says


      It works in Magazine mode, but I’m still looking for the same option in other views like Titles. Stay tuned (I’m having to get up to speed with all of Feedly’s features faster than I expected!).

  14. says

    Hi! Thanks so much for this helpful and timely post. At the end you mentioned feedly enables you to find out how many subscribers a blog has. Can you explain how to find this feature on feedly? It was so easy on Google Reader and now I don’t know where to look on feedly.


    • says

      Interesting…the subscriber count is there when you first add a feed (go to “Add a Website” and put in a URL and you’ll see) but I’m having trouble seeing it for existing subscriptions. I’ll keep digging (but at least you have a cheater’s way of figuring it out).

      Your header is adorable, by the way.

    • says

      Did you see the list of keyboard shortcuts? You can’t use the mouse like you did with Google Reader, but you can use the keyboard to quickly shuttle through.

  15. ErikaMC says

    Thanks for the information. I have downloaded the Feedly and used it fine yesterday but not today it won’t let me in. I don’t see any login place and it just takes me to the download page. Am I doing something wrong?

    • says

      Did you download to a desktop, or are you using in a browser (or perhaps a mobile device?). Let me know and I’ll try and help!

      • ErikaMC says

        I downloaded it to my browser. I’m using Google Chrome. I also put it on my phone and it seems to be working fine on that. Thanks!

  16. Linda Sand says

    I asked my computer guru about this and he said right now Feedly is just a front end for Google Reader but they are working to be stand alone by July 1st. Just thought I should share this heads up.

    • says

      Thanks — it’s fascinating to watch this all unfold! I just read that 500,000 people flocked to Feedly last week. Can you imagine that development room? :)

      From what I understand, and let me know if your guru has a better explanation, is that they have cloned the Google tools os that when Reader shuts down, there really is a seamless transition…so Feedly will have its own back end but users shouldn’t notice much difference.

  17. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I was devastated at the Google Reader announcement, and the number of alternatives was overwhelming. As a blogging pro, I’m thankful for your endorsement of Feedly. Getting it now!

  18. says

    So, I haven’t logged into Google Reader in a while (busy, working, mom) and when I did today I got the notification that Reader would be shutting down. I immediately thought, “Katy will know what to do!” and started scrolling through your posts. Thanks for the information and I can’t wait to make the switch!

  19. says

    Thank you so much for sharing, Katy!! I just downloaded the app and made the switch from Google Reader. I know I am nowhere near using this to it’s full potential, but I really appreciate you sharing so much information. Very helpful!!!


  1. […] BREAKING NEWS: Google Reader to Shut Down (Here’s My Favorite Alternative) – Katy Widrick. Did anyone else have their heart stop for a moment when they heard Google Reader will be no more as of July 1??  Well, Katy has us covered! […]

  2. […] Google Reader Crisis! How can they take it away….WAH! Ah, well, instead of pouting, check out Katy Widrick’s advice on using Feedly as an alternative. I actually really like the look of Feedly, so hopefully I will get used to it as a […]

  3. […] hit: i have switched to feedly as my new blog reading service. they have actually made the transfer process from google reader to feedly easy peasy and super quick. also, feedly looks almost identical to google reader. i don’t know why i was so nervous about switching, it was a breeze! katy wrote a post about this awhile ago if you want to check it out! […]

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