In my previous post End of Google Reader and gReader combo: offline reading Android alternatives I started to look out for alternatives to the gReader Android application. Well, my quest is over, and I’m still using gReader.
So what happened?
I searched Google Play for “RSS” and I got more than 1000 results. A plethora of apps which all are “simple”, “fast” and “intuitive” – basically each and every one of them the IS the best RSS reader out there 🙂 I scanned them for having an ‘offline reading’ feature, compiled a shortlist and installed a few on my Sony Xperia. I exported all my subscriptions through Google Takeout to see my RSS candicates hopefully were able to import them without any pain if they couldn’t connect to my Google Reader account directly.
Why mobilizing at all?
Replacing gReader backed by Google Reader
So here’s my chronological journey of 5 alternative candidates, with a short summary of my experience.
5. FeedR News Reader (2.1.13)
Pros: Import from Google Reader, so I was up in no time. Cons: Display & presentation not my cup of tea: not a clear general view of feeds, list view or detail view. Articles can be set to ‘expand one at a time’ inside the list view – so you’re actually in the list view instead of detail view. Or you can, by selecting a feed, inmediately jump to the first article – so skipping the listview. Collapsing and expanding. Nice feature: Integration with Pocket. Offline reading & mobilizing: per article you have the option to ‘mobilize’ the content using Google Mobilizer, but there’s no option to have items automatically downloaded, mobilized and saved in the cache for offline reading.
4. RssDemon (3.1.19)
Pros: Synchronizes with Google Reader. Nice and clean user interface. Cons: Auto-downloading new articles (prefetching for offline reading) need to be set per feed, it seems. Nice feature: Podcasts! Offline reading & mobilizing: Yes, per feed. Allows to set an ‘article download provider’ such as Instapaper Mobilizer or Google Mobilizer. Read articles can be auto-cleaned up older than selected days, keep starred articles, etc. There’s nothing mentioned on their website what will happen with the app after Google Reader shuts down, so its future is unclear.
3. Reader Free (2.5.3) and Ridly (1.0 beta 2)
Pros: Synchronizes with Google Reader. Nice and clean user interface. Font (Roboto Condensed), font size, line spacing etc. adjustable. Cons: Mobilizing new articles (prefetching for offline reading) need to be set per feed, it seems. Nice feature: Allows to mobilize external links on the fly. Offline reading & mobilizing: Yes, per feed. Next to Instapaper Mobilizer and Readibility Mobilizer, has also a built-in mobilizer – which is basically as good, but seems to be faster. The article view, partly due to Roboto font, is very clean.
Age of Mobile started a Google Reader-like service in the mean time, inlcuding backend API (allowing to import from Google Reader) and created a new app, called Ridly. It’s basically the same application, look and feel, but now connects with its own backend on ridley.net (currently still in beta) which also hosts a clean web-interface similar to Google Reader. Pros, Cons, Nice feature, Offline reading & mobilizing: same as for Reader Free above. The Ridly app does have some UI improvements with regard to the main screen and list view.
2. Feedly. Google Reader News RSS (16.0.530)
The original users of gReader started pretty early on a forumthread about Alternative Services to Google Reader. Although there was some confusion about being just an RSS client or also offering a full-service API backend, a lot of pointers were made in the direction of Feedly. Only recently they launched Feedly Cloud, not only a replacement for Google Reader as a service (and a one-click import from Google), but also an open API for a variety of client apps, inlcuding their own Feedly Android app. So what about this app? Pros: Looks slick. Has a title-only view, list view, magazine view and cards view. Cons: Somewhat awkward swipe-and-browse kind of navigation. Large colorful menu. Seems more fit for tablet users. Oh, there’s another big con – see the offline reading functionality. Nice feature: Sharing with Pocket and Bit.ly. Offline reading & mobilizing: Well, you can’t. And it’s not yet on their roadmap although it’s a highly voted request on uservoice. Which brings us to…
1. gReader (Pro) (3.3.3)
Boy, was I glad when I saw as of v.3.3.0 finally gReader got Feedly Cloud support! This meant I could switch from Google Reader as backend to Feedly Cloud, and have my gReader app now connect to Feedly Cloud. And gReader has excellent offline reading features which I was already accustomed to.
What you can do
So after all I’m still using gReader for my daily RSS reading routine. 🙂
If YOU are still on Google Reader with some kind of Android RSS app you have 2 days to act, before Google Reader shuts down! Here’s what you can do to get a neat offline-reading experience:
- Go to ridly.net, create an account, have them import all from Google Reader and install the Ridly app from Google Play.
- Go to http://cloud.feedly.com, create an account, have them import from Google Reader. Make sure you install the gReader app from Google Play, or upgrade your existing gReader to at least to 3.3.0+. Existing gReader users still connected to Google Reader should log off from the app (using the menu) and authorize the app to use Feedly Cloud instead.
Everybody wants a piece of the action
In my mail I received an invitation to try out Digg Reader, a new service from Digg to become a Google Reader replacement. I signed up. A top-feature – actually being able to import from Google Reader – is still broken: Sorry, we’re working on that!
Feedly Cloud and Ridly both have decent webinterfaces and working Google Reader import functionality right now. If you haven’t secured your Google Reader subscriptions, get to it: July 1st is near.