The great Google Reader crisis

I live in Silicon Valley and am married to a software engineer, but I haven’t worked in the tech industry for quite a while. This gives me an interesting insider/outsider view on some issues, like Google sunsetting Reader. A few weeks ago, before the Google announcement, I was talking to my husband about my plan to switch from Bloglines to a cloud-based RSS reader like Google Reader that would sync with my new tablet. He incredulously asked me, “people still use RSS readers?”, like I’d admitted to reading only in cuneiform on clay tablets.

I guess the Google folks agreed with him, but given the strong reaction of most of the sewing bloggers I read to the Google announcement, us ‘regular folks’ still use RSS readers plenty. From what I’ve seen, a lot of folks are moving over to BlogLovin, which I have not tried myself. I have two additional recommendations: first, Bloglines has been around for ages and still works great. They existed before Google Reader, were almost shut down after Google Reader took over the space, and then were acquired by another company which has kept them happily kicking around for several years now. They’ve gotten a lot of new users after the Google announcement but the performance has been good for me the last few days.

My other recommendation is The Old Reader, which is supposed to be very Google Reader-like in its appearance. Because they, also, got a huge influx of new users I am still waiting for all my subscriptions to be imported, but from the little I’ve used it so far it is very nice.

Neither of these options has a native phone or tablet app, but The Old Reader is supposed to work well in a mobile browser (haven’t checked that myself yet). There are a lot of RSS apps out there if you only read on your phone or tablet, but not a lot that seamlessly go from computer to phone/tablet and back again, and those that do seem to be overwhelmingly visual in presentation (like Feedly and Pulse, both of which I tried once and recoiled from).

(Side note: one of the possibilities that Lifehacker recommends is NewsBlur, which from the description sounds like a RSS reader / offline reader like Instapaper fusion. But for full functionality, you’ve got to subscribe at $24 a year. Might be worth considering if the feature set makes sense for your workflow.)

I hope this is useful if you’re still figuring out what to do post-Reader (assuming it doesn’t get revived at the last minute). Don’t worry, soon I’ll be back to talking about the sewing I’m not doing and the boring food I’m cooking.