Best Free Google Reader Alternatives For Web, Windows & Mac

Google Reader will be gone soon and the faster you start looking for ways to move on, the better. It isn’t going to be easy though; scores of developers have created apps or services that integrate and sync with Google Reader. The feature itself was not merely important, but rather considered by many to be an integral part of any worthwhile RSS reader. Times have changed though and with Reader soon to be no longer available, it’s time to consider alternatives. Understandably, Google Reader users might be looking for either a web service or a desktop app to fill the void, and we’ve compiled a list of free options for each platform: web, Windows, and Mac. Our Emphasis was on two key features – the app or service must be free, and it should be able to import from XML files since that is what you get when you backup your Google Reader subscriptions. With only two exceptions in our list that only partially meet these requirements, we’re hopeful you will find something that’s just right for you.

Best-Google-Reader-alternatives-Web-Windows-OS-X

Web Based RSS Readers

Feedly

This service, though it currently works with Google Reader, is at the top of our list for the simple reason that the developers have promised its users a simple and painless transition from Google Reader, and because it has one of the best interfaces you will find in any RSS reader. Feedly works in your browser via an extension, and extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. The service also has apps available for iOS, Android, and Kindle, covering countless popular mobile devices out there.

Transitioning from Google Reader to Feedly is as seamless as it gets. Sign in with your Google Account, and all your feeds are imported in the blink of an eye, with no manual exporting or importing required at all. You can always add more feeds to the service and view news items in many different layouts. The list and expanded views that you’re used to in Google Reader exist as the Titles and Magazine views in Feedly. Features include:

  • Sharing news items on social media and emailing an article
  • Folder structure from Google Reader is imported along with all feeds
  • News items can be tagged
  • Items can be marked for reading later – a feature that’s similar to starring in Google Reader
  • Items can be marked as read
  • You can read the full news item in Feedly
  • Different themes are available
  • A rich search and content discovery feature

feedly

BlogLovin

BlogLovin is another service with an excellent interface. The service focuses on making the feed reading experience social. It gives you your very own profile and all blogs you follow are publicly visible there. When importing feeds from an XML file, the folder structure is lost in BlogLovin, which makes it one of the apps in this lists that have a limitation on importing everything the way it was from Google Reader. Though it has a feed management page that more than makes up for this lack. Grouping feeds and selectively making them public or private is very easy, as is following or unfollowing a feed. You can sign up for the app using your Facebook account, or your email address. Notable features include:

  • A ‘like’ feature that is closely akin to the ‘starred’ feature in Google reader
  • Mark all items in a feed as read
  • News items can be sorted by blog or by date
  • News items open in a new tab with the Bloglovin bar at the top that allows you to share the story on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest
  • Your personal profile

Bloglovin

Netvibes

Netvibes is feature-rich – in fact so feature-rich that we won’t be able to list all that the service can do. Not all features are free, but everything you need to replace Google Reader is. The service offers the usual list view of items but also lets you switch to a ‘widget’ view where each blog you follow appears in its own frame. The frames can be reordered to your liking and color-coded to keep them organized. Feeds can be added via an RSS link or imported from an XML file. Highlight features include:

  • Automatically checks for new items and shows them below a ‘just received’ header
  • Supports themes and imports from multiple services, including Yahoo and Google Reader
  • Multiple interface layouts to choose from
  • Items can be marked to ‘Read later’
  • Folder structure is retained when feeds are imported
  • The ‘Widget’ interface has an excellent ‘tabbed’ layout to replace the usual folder view
  • Supports RSS, ATOM, XML and RDF formats for importing feeds
  • Loads the entire index of a feed
  • Lots of themes to choose from
  • Excellent interface

Netvibes

Feedspot

Feedspot is among the many popular services currently suffering from heavy load due to all the new visits, and that is a testament to how good the service is. The interface is very clean and you can follow other users, as well as have others follow you. Feeds can be imported from an XML file and the folder structure is retained int he process. It’s noteworthy features are:

  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Ability to share a news item to Twitter and email
  • Favorite a news item or mark it as read
  • Sort items by newest or oldest date
  • View only unread items
  • Switch between list and magazine view

Feedspot

Skimr

Skimr is minimal and drop-dead gorgeous. The greatest thing this service has going for it is that it never was dependent on Google Reader. You can follow feeds by adding their RSS link, or import them from an XML file. The service gives you a list view and an expanded view of the news items. The service is experiencing heavy traffic, so importing feeds can take some time. Support for folders is added by appending the name of the folder to the name of the feed itself. Noteworthy features:

  • Never was and never will be linked to Google Reader
  • Clean, minimal, and works perfectly on your mobile device

Skimr add

The Old Reader

The Old Reader will keep you from missing Google Reader much, since the service’s interface matches that of the old version of Google Reader itself, complete with the features to mimic it. Unfortunately, this service is under considerable load too, so you might have to wait for quite a while when importing all your feeds. It’s noteworthy features are:

  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Folders imported with feeds
  • News items can be liked or shared
  • Browser extensions are available for Chrome and Safar to easily add items to your feeds
  • Nostalgic of Google Reader
  • Manually refresh feeds
  • View unread items only, or all items

The Old Reader home

FeedBooster

Q-Sensei’s FeedBooster isn’t big on looks, but the service makes up for it with excellent filters that we did not find in other services. News items can be filtered by day, blog, and even the author. FeedBooster gives you different layouts to choose from. The features that set it apart are:


  • Infinite scrolling when going through a feed
  • Lots of filters to narrow down your reading
  • Sharing news items via email, Twitter, or Facebook.
  • Folder structure is maintained when feeds are imported
  • Feeds can be viewed in a table, index, or grid like layout

FeedBooster filters

Newsblur

The second entry in this list with a limitation, Newsblur is limited to 20 feeds on a free account for now. The paid accounts aren’t expensive, and we’re hoping the service will open up more now that Google Reader is getting out of the picture. The service itself is pretty excellent though, with every feature you could ever want in an RSS reader. Feeds can be imported from an XML file, and the folder structure is imported as well. Features worth mentioning are:

  • Option to view a news story as text-only
  • View the story on the original website
  • Move through unread items
  • Support for tags
  • Sharing options

NewsBlur

Windows

RSS Bandit

RSS Bandit is one of the more popular feed readers available for Windows. The interface isn’t endearing but the app works excellently. Feeds are easily imported from XML files, folders remain intact and the last 20 stories from each feed are promptly imported. Once you’ve imported all your feeds, you will have to click ‘Update All Feeds’ at the top to load them all. The interface allows you to view a list of all news items in a feed in one half of the viewing pane, while the other half is dedicated to showing you the selected news story, akin to the layout of many desktop email clients.

  • Post items to Twitter
  • Blog news items using Live Writer
  • Built-in download manager
  • Set update frequency for a feed

RSS Bandit

RSS Owl

RSS Owl has a clean interface. We won’t compare it to the web services listed above, but RSS Owl is definitely one of the better Windows RSS readers available. It can import feeds directly from your Google account, or from an OPML or XML file. It allows you to review the feed structure (folders) once before it imports them, and works very fast. Notable features are:

  • Tabbed browsing allows you to open multiple feeds at once
  • Support for labels and sticky notes
  • Sort feeds by different filters including authors
  • Desktop notifications
  • Archive items
  • Share news items on Facebook or Twitter, or send them to Pocket (Formerly Read It Later)
  • Choose whether to load only a preview of the news item, or the full story

RSSOwl

FeedDemon

The oldest heavyweight in the desktop RSS reader category, FeedDemon is still a worthy contender; it imports from both XML files and from your Google Accont. The app has a built-in browser that allows you to read news items as they appear on the web. The interface is cleaner than what RSS Bandit offers and, you can also import feeds from RSS Bandit to FeedDemon. The app features ads, but they are unobtrusive and can be removed by upgrading to a paid version. It’s rich on features including:

  • Three different views to choose from: full content, heading only, and summary
  • Star items and view stats for a feed
  • Control how frequently a feed is refreshed
  • A panic button that allows you to mark old feeds as read in one go
  • Tabbed browsing
  • Share news to Twitter, (Formerly Read It Later), and via email

FeedDemon Lite 4

Mac

NetNewsWire

NetNewsWire is a full-featured RSS reader for Mac that has an iPhone and iPad app to go with it. The app is ad-supported, and lets you sync feeds from Google or import them. It adds quite a number of feeds to your reader automatically and that’s rather annoying, since there is no way to delete them in bulk. The app has a bar on the right that shows all feeds that you recently read making it easier to switch between them. It’s feature highlights are;

  • You can create ‘Smart Lists’
  • Save items to (Formerly Read It Later)
  • Manage the refresh frequency
  • Change the font to your liking

netnewswire

Vienna

Like NetNewsWire, Vienna also adds some subscriptions automatically for you but fortunately, they are fewer than the former’s. Feeds can easily be added and imported. The app’s Dock icon shows a badge with the number of unread messages and can alert you when you receive a new item in your feeds. It’s ad-free and fairly fast, and its major features include:

  • Tabbed browsing
  • Built-in browser (no Flash support)
  • Files can be downloaded to your system
  • Links can be set to open in your default browser
  • The update frequency can be customized

Vienna

Mixtab

Mixtab is unique among other desktop RSS readers; instead of the usual list view, it emphasizes on a more visual look for reading news. Like the other Mac RSS readers we’ve seen above, Mixtab also comes with a few pre-added feeds. Feeds appear in tabs, and instead of using a folder structure, the app lets you add multiple feeds to a single tab. Feeds can be imported from XML files, and made public so that other Mixtab users can view and follow them. You will have to sign up for a Mixtab account to use the app.

  • No ads
  • Tabs with grouping support
  • Gallery view of all feeds
  • An interface worthy of a Mac app

Mixtab

It’s a long list, and hopefully you will find something you like. Let us know in the comments if you know of a good free app or service we’ve missed that can contend with Google Reader or any of the services and apps in this list.

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  • jack-h

    The Windows Live Mail have a feed subscription feature, which is very capable on its own. You can import XML file to it and organize it in folder.

    • jerome

      Outlook desktop does it, too.

  • david

    FeedReader and QuiteRSS = Portable

  • EmirSc

    using feedly for a few days now, prety awesome.

  • Analog33k

    But does any of these alternative readers offer a decent (even though third-party) Android client (like gReader) along with a neat web UI like Google Reader does ? And a good syncing of all this?

    • http://www.addictivetips.com/ Sameed Khan

      Feedly does, as far as I know.

  • David

    I used FeedDemon for some years now, in sync with GoogleReader, but the developer has announced that he’s no longer working on it and releasing new versions. A lot of people is yet currently using Google Reader and it’s a pity that they’re shuting down the service!

  • chris2kari

    Word : Feedly

  • Dan

    Good Noows is a good alternative. It has different “views” to read the feeds.