With the announcement that Google Reader will be discontinued as of July 1, 2013, a lot people are scrambling for another feed reader service. If you’re one of them, you may be looking for more than just a web app to replace Google Reader and want a desktop app for your Mac to create a better reading experience. The problem is that so many Mac feed readers depend on Google Reader and won’t work without it.
We’ve gathered some alternatives you can start using right now ahead of the big shutdown. Some of the best feed readers out there are on the list, and we’ve got a good range of full-featured and minimalist, paid and free. Hopefully you’ll find something that can fill the Google Reader-sized hole in your heart.
If you haven’t tried IFTTT, yet, short for “if this, then that,” you’re missing out. IFTTT is a web service that allows you to create recipes that trigger your other apps or services to perform actions. In this case, you’d create a recipe that looks for a new feed item. When IFTTT sees something you’ve told it you’re interested in, it will append it to a note in Evernote.
There are a few different ways to get this done, and you can create a new notebook for each feed or have all your feeds file into the same place. I’ve created and shared an IFTTT recipe to get you started, but by all means create the recipe that meets your needs. Slapping everything you read into Evernote may not seem like an obvious solution to the loss of Google Reader, but it’s a great way to hang onto articles you really like and annotate anything you want to keep.
Reeder has been my feed reader of choice for a while. I could subscribe and unsubscribe to feeds, just as if I were in the Google Reader web app. I could even move subscriptions around and organize them into folders. It’s just that Reeder looked way nicer than Google Reader.
If you’re a Reeder fan like me, you’ll know that the app has to sync with Google Reader; it doesn’t work without a Google account. With the announcement that Google Reader will be leaving us all very shortly, you may have been worried your precious app would be gone soon, too. Not to worry, the developers have announced via Twitter that Reeder will live on after Google. While they haven’t revealed any details, we shouldn’t count Reeder out yet.
Requires: OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Silvio Rizzi
Cream doesn’t require a Google Reader account, and you can already add feeds directly to the app. Better still, you can import your list of subscribed feeds using Google Takeout. If you’re looking to make a move now, well ahead of the Google Reader shutdown, Cream is ready to go.
It’s not as easy to browse your individual feeds with Cream, but you can see all of your feed articles in a massive list sorted by feed. You can also sort by date, but that’s not the point of Cream. When you click on a story, Cream creates a picture of the sort of things you like and sorts those to the top; the cream always rises!
Requires: OS X 10.8 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: The Mental Faculty
Pulp tries to give you an experience that resembles a real newspaper. You’ll be automatically subscribed to some pretty great blogs and news sites, and they’ll be sorted into newspaper sections, like lifestyle and technology.
You can’t import your Google Reader subscriptions, but you can sync your Pulp account across multiple Macs or iOS devices. Each feed URL has to be added individually, which isn’t fun to do, but you can search for a keyword, too, and create your own Pulp newspaper pages.
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later
Developer: Acrylic Software
I’ll be honest with you, Vienna isn’t the best looking app you can find, but you don’t need to login with Google Reader to make it work. Vienna does have some pretty great features, though, including the ability to import your Google subscriptions using Google Takeout. You’ll already be subscribed to a bunch of cool Apple blogs, too.
What I really like about Vienna is how it loads individual articles. If the entire article doesn’t load or you just want to see what the original looked like, you can load it right there in Vienna. It’s got a sort of built in browser so you won’t have to be constantly loading what you’re reading into another app.
Requires: OS X 10.6
Developer: The Vienna RSS Project
Fresh Feed Pro is a neat little menu bar app, very simple with a small footprint. You won’t be able to import your Google Reader feeds into Fresh Feed Pro, but you can still log in and sync everything before it all shuts down. Fresh Feed Pro also lets you add your feed URLs individually, but you’ll have to do it one at a time.
Less of an actual reader, Fresh Feed Pro aggregates all of your feeds to a single list in your menu bar. You’ll only get the headlines, and everything opens in your default browser. Fresh Feed Pro doesn’t let you sort by site, but if you’re just interested in the newest stories, it’s got you covered.
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Bloop S.R.L.
Monotony is about as low-key as you’re going to get. Subscribe to your feeds, and Monotony sits up in your menu bar waiting for them to be updated. When anything new comes in, you’ll get a notification. If you’re using Notification Center, the most recent articles will hang out there until you’ve clicked them.
This is a great app if you want an aggregator that you can’t even see. There’s no Dock icon, and you can turn off the menu bar icon, too, leaving Monotony to run entirely in the background until there’s something new to see.
Requires: OS X 10.7.4 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Tim Schroeder
RSS Bot combines all the best features of menu bar feed aggregators into a single app. This may be my favorite of the bunch, if I’m being honest. It supports OMPL import, meaning you can get all of your Google Reader subscriptions in there using Google Takeout. If you ever want to edit your subscriptions, it’s super easy to add or remove feeds.
If you’re a fan of Readability, you’re in luck, because RSS Bot opens all articles there by default, though that can be changed. It’s easy to pause RSS Bot if you ever need to or mark everything as read. All of your articles will automatically sort themselves out by site, keeping it all a lot more manageable when you have a ton of subscriptions, a big plus for me.
Requires: OS X 10.8 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: FIPLAB Ltd.
Whether you want to read in the app or your browser, want instant notifications or an app that waits for you in the background, hopefully you found something that fits the bill in this list. There’s a good mix of full feed readers and minimal menubar apps, so whether you want a self-contained reading experience or little more than a desktop notification, I hope you found something to help you soothe the pain of losing Google Reader.