Replacing Reader, Part 3: We Have a Winner!

This is the final post in a series on my experiences in replacing Google Reader. The first two installments are available here: Part 1 & Part 2.

I’ve now been using The Old Reader for a few weeks, and I think I’ve found a winner.

The Old Reader

Here’s what I like:

  • Imported feeds are retained in their folders, meaning minimal set-up time to get things the way I like them (the folder order wasn’t preserved, but it didn’t take long for me to reorder them)
  • I can drag & drop feeds between folders to organize
  • I can choose to mark as read by scrolling over or by clicking on an item title
  • I can choose to show only unread items within a feed
  • I can choose to show only folders with unread items
  • Unsubscribing from a feed is super-simple – there’s an unsubscribe button right on each feed’s homepage, and only one more click is required to confirm. I have to admit, I always found it a bit annoying to have to use the feed settings drop-down menu in Google Reader; this is so much simpler.
  •  I LOVE having the option to toggle back and forth between read/unread status on an individual item within a feed. This is a feature that used to exist in Google Reader – why they got rid of it, I’ll never know.
  • Bonus: A panel on the Home screen shows you any dead feeds in your collection, allowing me to quickly identify and remove defunct feeds

So far, the only downside I can see is that the system can be a tiny bit slow. Initially, I was concerned about the “you can only sign in with Google or Facebook” thing, but they’ve since implemented a separate login system, and setting up an account is very simple.

I learned my lesson with Google Reader: you get what you pay for, and I don’t want it to happen again. I’ll gladly pay an annual subscription for The Old Reader, and I really hope they’ll come up with a PayPal-based billing solution ASAP. These guys deserve it.

Only time will tell whether The Old Reader makes it. I sure am rooting for them, though. I’ve still been using Google Reader occasionally as I transition entirely to The Old Reader, and the other day I noticed some glitchiness there that made me wondering if Google isn’t already letting things slide.

There’s been some debate over the last couple years on whether RSS is becoming defunct in the face of social media and especially Twitter. The swift and passionate reaction, though, from Google Reader’s power users proved to me that this technology isn’t going anyway. Long live RSS!

Have you settled on a replacement for Google Reader? Or maybe you were using something else all along? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

  1. Mike said:

    Great article.

    I have been an RSS feed junkie for several years and I expect to continue to rely on these feeds so long as websites are willing to make them available.

    I have been relying on a relatively archaic (free) desktop version called SharpReader – which I don’t believe is even supported any longer. I like the way SharpReader allows me to organize my feeds within the various sub folders in a clean and logical order.

    I have been considering moving to a browser-based reader for some time now, and with more and more glitches cropping up with SharpReader I am finally ready to make a switch.

    I did dabble with with Google Reader at one point but to be honest, I didn’t like the fact you needed to sign in with Google, and the service didn’t seem as robust as some of the desktop versions that were available at the time.
    I’m going to give The Old Reader a try and I’ll let you know how it goes!

    @ 12:48 pm
  2. […] Replacing Reader, Part 3: We Have a Winner! – The Greenhouse […]

    @ 4:31 pm

Leave a Comment

Note: Fields marked with a * are required; email addresses are not published.