Are You Prepared for the Google Reader Shutdown?

As has been widely reported, Google Reader is shutting down July 1, 2013. Now, in typical Google fashion, no one really knows what will actually happen on the that date, but as I it see you have about three choices if you are to continue to consistently consume blog content.

Google ChromeScreenSnapz004

Move to a new RSS reader

There are actually many options for moving your existing RSS subscriptions to another setup that can pretty much make the change a non event and may even turn up some enhancements.

The first step is to export your current subscriptions out of Google Reader so that you have a file you can import to other services. A number of other RSS readers have built this feature in and can do it automatically once you grant access.

Here’s how to export your data from Google Reader as an OPML file.

1. Sign into Google Reader account and go to the Settings in the upper right corner. It looks like this:
Google reader settings

2. Navigate to Import/Export tab. At the bottom, under “Export your information,” click the link “Download your data through Takeout.”

Google ChromeScreenSnapz005

Some of the services getting the most buzz currently are:

  • Feedly, another popular alternative, combines bookmarking with feed reading and sharing.
  • Feedbin – this very simple and very pleasing layout to reading RSS feeds costs $2/month and it’s the one I’ve chosen to use currently
  • NewsBlur is a simple interface that includes mobile apps and ability to share stories your find on popular sites such as Evernote.

In case you’re interested, here’s what I’ve done:

  • I created accounts in Feedly and Feedbin (a little redundancy online is a good thing)
  • Right now I currently use Feedbin for daily consumption because I use an iPhone app called ReederApp that uses my Feedbin subscriptions to give me a phone version – which is where I read most of my blog content (ReederApp is working on itegration with Feedly as well)
  • The ReederApp allows me to do lots of things with individual blog posts such as submit to Buffer, add to Delicious, Tweet or email directly from within my phone – I depend on this function as I share a lot of content in social media and this makes it very easy to do so.

Use it as a do over

Another approach is to forget your past subscriptions and simply sign up for an RSS reader you fancy and start subscribing to blogs based on where you are today.

I’ll admit, even with constant housekeeping there are some blogs in my reader that I don’t give much love.

You might consider taking the time to hand pick some new ones. (Although I do hope you consider continuing to read this blog!)

If this sounds appealing you can skip the export (although you may want to do it anyway just in case) and simply pick a new reader and start subscribing.

Change the way you read blogs

An entirely different option is to think otherwise about the content altogether. Instead of subscribing to any particular blogs you could subscribe to topics or rely on trusted friends to tell you what they are reading.

This can be a great way to stay laser focused on just the stuff that interests you and start building some “reading networks” in favor of reading destinations.

One service in particular that I think excels in this area is Newsle.

Newlse allows you to follow the reading activity of people in your social networks. It will identify influential people and what it calls famous people, but essentially you can follow anyone you want and create alerts. One might consider, for example, creating a list of major clients or important journalists and keeping tabs on what they are writing and tagging.

Frankly, I’m doing both – continuing to read RSS feeds and following curated lists on Newsle.

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  • Valerie Cudnik

    I’ve never used Reader much. I prefer to see the top couple of posts using my iGoogle page. I think that’s going away later this year, too. I may just create my own home page on some of my own web space and fill it with feeds.

    Good opportunity for someone to create a similar site with ads. I just don’t have time.

  • Robin Forster

    Really appreciated you blog post – and ran into a misstep. Followed the directions, downloaded my data through takeout. Now what? I have an account with Feedbin and Freedly, and loaded Reeder app onto my phone. Just can’t figure out the last step – connecting it all. Did get Feedly to work! Hurray! Help on Feedbin – or suggestion where to get help would be great. Thanks!

    • ducttape

      Robin – create Feedbin account and log in and then follow the steps to automatically transport your Google Reader account – you won’t have to import/export just give Feedbin access to your reader account when the screen pops up. It may take a bit, even a few hours to populate.

      Then open Reeder app on your phone and hit settings – add account – under news reading click Feedbin icon and add your Feedbin login – then Reeder will sync with Feedbin and you’ll be set to go.

      At some point you’ll also want to go to settings under Sharing Services and add things like Buffer account, FB account, etc.

  • Valerie

    Yep! I choose Feedly.

  • Jacob D. Barnett

    I just discovered and they seem to have an interesting approach.

  • Ike Pigott

    The thing I will miss most is the sheer volume of the database I had in Reader.

    There were many blogs that I added to certain folders that I had no real intention of Reading or Following closely. They were written by experts I trusted in certain niches, and I liked to be able to research them en masse when I had a question or a curious streak.

    It was better than a flat Google for me, because I was drawing from the sources *I* had curated, and within that whatever the individual authors had written.

    Now that it is going away, I don’t think the new alternatives will have access to the years of archives I had available.

  • christianpuricelli

    Hi John, have you checked