We've known this has been coming for months, but people being people, many of you still haven't switched to another RSS reader. Here's my list of three good replacements.
Before jumping into them, you should know what I think is important in an RSS reader.
First, I prefer my newsfeed to be delivered via a Web site rather than by an application. That way I don't have to worry about whether my RSS reader app on Android is synced up with the one on my Linux box and so on.
Gallery: Goodbye Google Reader: Here are five RSS alternatives
This also means that I won't need to worry about whether a program is supported on every device I use. If it's on the Web, it will work no matter whether I'm working at my PC, fiddling with my smartphone in a grocery store line, or browsing the Web on a couch with my Nexus 7 tablet.
Second, I want to be able to import and export my RSS feeds from one program to another. The last thing I want to do is to waste time manually moving my news feeds. Ideally, a good RSS reader can do this by importing and exporting Outline Processor Markup Language (OPML) files.
The program should also make it easy to share what I find with my friends and co-workers via e-mail and on social networks. Finally, since Google Reader was free, I'd prefer for its replacement to be free as well.
That said, before trying a new RSS reader, you should grab your existing RSS newsfeed subscriptions from Google Reader.
To do this, go to Google Takeout. This is a handy service that lets you download all your data from various Google services, such as Google+, YouTube, and, for now, Google Reader.
With all that out of the way, I have to say I have yet to find the perfect RSS reader. What I have found are several good ones. Here, in alphabetical order, are the best RSS readers I've found so far.
Bloglines just turned ten-years old and is probably the oldest RSS reader still alive and kicking. Despite its age, it's still a useful, free, Web-based RSS client.
It isn't just a RSS reader anymore. It's also a front-end for social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. That's the good news. The bad news is that if you want features such as in-feed search, you'll need to pay for the premium version. That will cost you — and, no, I'm not making this up — $499 a month...
Yes, that version also comes with many other features, but really all I want that's "extra" is the news-feed search. It's a pity they don't include that feature in their 30 Euros-a-year Netvibes VIP package.
Still, the overall look and feel of Bloglines can be set to look a lot like Google Reader. Or, if you prefer, you can set it to a widget-style appearance a la iGoogle. So, if you're going to do almost all your RSS reading from your PC, then Bloglines is still a worthy choice.
As they themselves say, "The entire team has been working close to 24×7 over the last 60 days to prepare for this migration. We are listening and happy to help make this transition as seamless as possible."
While there are still quirks, I'm finding that Feedly works remarkably well. Still, I'm not crazy about the interface and I really, really miss the ability to search within my feeds.
3) The Old Reader
The Old Reader makes no bones about it. They liked Google Reader. A lot. So, "Let's just say we missed the original reader a lot, so we built The Old Reader for ourselves and our friends. We like the way it turned out, so we are sharing it with everyone."
I'm glad they did.
This Web-based, free RSS reader has a very clean, Google Reader-like display. It also has one small feature I quite like: a front page notification of dead RSS feeds. If, like me, you can have hundreds of RSS feeds, it can be quite hard weeding out the defunct ones. And, best of all, it has a search function that works across all the feeds.
Alas, there's still some functionality that's missing. Old Reader doesn't support story sharing either by social network or by e-mail. You can share and like posts with other Old Readers users, but that's it.
This is also a beta program. It's worked well for me, but you can expect it to have teething problems.
There are also some services, such as HootSuite's Hoodlet and the Digg Reader that just aren't ready for prime-time yet. They may be great sometime soon, but they're not there yet.
That being said, there's no clear winner or loser here. The RSS companies are improving their programs and adding new features daily. Even if I were to declare a victor today, it might be a runner-up tomorrow.
I'm going to continue my hunt for the perfect RSS reader. Let me know if you find your A+ RSS reader.