RSS Feeds And Google Reader Replacements

Friday, April 12th, 2013

If you read a lot of blogs and news websites, it’s possible you’ve seen an RSS feed logo without entirely understanding what it is. For consumers of constantly-updated online media, it’s a true lifesaver. RSS (or Rich Site Summary) is an automated stream that takes the newly created content of a website – be it text, picture, video, etc – and presents it in a form that allows it to be read and syndicated by a range of mediums. A standardised XML file format is used to unify the format and add meta data, and an RSS Reader is used to view it in one place.

RSS is great for both authors and readers. For readers, it makes it easy to follow multiple blogs or websites and keep up with updates without checking a dozen different sites every day. For authors, it makes your content that much more accessible and encourages the audience to continue interacting with what you make on a regular basis. However despite its exceptional functionality, RSS is not as widely used as you might expect. Many users have simply never heard of it, or aren’t rabid enough blog consumers to see it as necessary.

This lack of mainstream usage has caused one of the biggest and most popular readers, the Google Reader, to be closed down. Google cites a desire to conserve energy and resources for larger projects as the reason, but it has been a bitter pill to swallow for the many who used it as their preferred RSS reader. Google has given ample notice in order for users to extract their feed data from it so they don’t lose all their subscriptions – but then what?

Top Google Reader Replacements

Immediately following news of the closure, smaller RSS Feed applications and providers seized their chance to get a look in on a market that had been previously dominated by the search tool. For those despairing of the loss of Google Reader or looking to get started with RSS, the following options have emerged into the spotlight:

The Old Reader – Does exactly what it claims in the name – faithfully emulates the Google Reader experience as closely as possible. Import all your old feeds and be greeted by an extremely familiar interface. However there is currently no mobile version available.

Feedly – Even before the closure of Google Reader, Feedly was popular for its efficiency, quality search algorithm and social media integration, allowing you to share your favourite new updates with your social circles. Mobile version available.

With these options available the blow of losing Google Reader is felt much less, allowing a new generation of content consumers to get on board with this useful tool.

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Katie is a lover of words and art, born and raised in Christchurch. With a BA in English and Japanese, she’s happiest tapping away at her keyboard writing copy or articles, or else working on the latest illustration. To balance the creative side, Katie is also very motivated and a bit of a perfectionist, which helps with her SEO duties. Although her hobbies could probably be described as art, art and more art, she also enjoys long walks, good friends and travel.

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