Despite backlash from Google Reader’s avid fan base, Google have officially announced that on the 1st July 2013, Google Reader will be retired. Google themselves have decided that due to a decline in the number of users, Google Reader is no longer a service they wish to support. For the rest of us, this sparks the search for a news aggregation capable of replacing Google Reader entirely.
In anticipation for Google Reader’s retirement, Feedly are operating Project Normandy. This will allow all Feedly users prior to the Google Reader shutdown to seamlessly and automatically import their feeds and settings into Feedly, with no interruptions.
How to use Feedly
To install Feedly, head over to their website. The browser download button found on their homepage will change depending upon which browser you’re using. For example, whilst browsing with Google Chrome, the button will automatically display the Google Chrome extension download, as shown below. Firefox users will receive the same treatment.
Feedly links directly with your Google account and thus syncs with Google Reader. This means that any feeds and subscriptions you have set up on Google Reader will automatically be added to Feedly.
As discussed before, setting up your Feedly account before Google Reader shuts down will seamlessly import your settings and subscriptions, even after July 1st.
In light of this feature, you may either click ‘Log in’ to enter your Google credentials, or “Connect to Google Reader” if you are already signed in.
You will then be prompted to give Feedly access to your Google account. In order to link Feedly to Google Reader, you’ll need to click “Allow access.”
Once you have allowed access, Feedly will automatically populate itself with your Google Reader subscriptions. The default homepage of your news feed will appear as shown below, populated by articles relevant to your interests.
Once you have reached this stage, you have successfully replaced your Google Reader with Feedly.
As seen in the image above, Feedly offers a multitude of organizational options, as well as displaying the latest news in an aesthetically pleasing way. Feedly automatically generates featured news on your homepage from all your favourite sources of news.
Feedly also offers various customization features, such as themes, which can be discussed in great depth. However, the most important Feedly functionality is adding new content to your feed. On the right hand side of your Feedly homepage, you will notice a search icon. By clicking this icon, the search area will appear as displayed below.
Using Feedly’s search system is pretty self-explanatory. Popular categories are displayed via images, as seen above, while further searches can be made using website URLs, tags, titles and so forth.
Once you have experimented with adding new content, you will then have complete control over your Feedly account, thus replacing Google Reader entirely!
Feedly: The Good and the Bad
As the search for a Google Reader replacement continues, you may be unconvinced with Feedly’s features and it’s capability as a news aggregation which can fill the void left by Google Reader. So, to help you make up your mind, here are the various pros and cons of Feedly.
- Feedly’s Normandy project, as discussed above, allows a seamless transition from Google Reader. Feedly is unique in this regard, as no other news aggregator offers such a service as of yet.
- Categorizing & organizing your feeds into folders is extremely easy, which makes your content more manageable.
- Easily accessible social sharing buttons appear with every article, along with the option for personal Facebook/Twitter feeds on your Feedly homepage.
- Feedly has a multitude of themes, with each one being customisable.
- Once you download the free Feedly mobile app for iOS & Android, all news feeds will automatically sync across your devices.
- Feedly has to be downloaded as a browser extension as opposed to web-based alternatives, leaving the door open to extension clashes and other errors.
- Amazon advertising has a permanent place on your Feedly homepage
So there you have it. Thanks to seamless integration and import features, Feedly is a great replacement for Google Reader. Feedly’s extensive options to customize its design and personalize its homepage with your social networking handles only adds to it’s already robust news aggregating system. We may all miss Google Reader once it’s gone, but perhaps not as much as we first thought.