Google Reader closes, replacement mobile RSS readers reviewed

The big announcement of today in the tech world will be Samsung Galaxy S IV, but this is still a couple of hours away and due to British time zone differences will be tomorrow mornings news – we’ll keep you updated then on which of the recent rumours come to pass.

But the other big news in tech today is the sudden announcement that Google will be closing the doors on its much loved Google Reader product in three months. If you’re not a blogosphere or news junkie this might not seem relevant, but for the millions of us who log into our favourite mobile RSS reader app each morning for our read on the daily commute or with our coffee this is potentially devastating.

Almost all mobile based RSS readers on whatever platform, from iPhone through Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone, rely on Google Reader as the backend for updating the feeds and sending the data to your phone. You probably haven’t noticed this since you initially set up the app, and many users might not even be aware they’re using Google Reader in the first place if the app took them through the sign up process when they initially started using it.

So for those desperate to find out what is happening in their favourite niche news sources each morning, will this mean going back to the old fashioned way of loading each site up automatically? Thankfully probably not, as despite it’s market dominance there are alternatives to Google Reader around and more are sure to come now the service is closing.

One of the big gainers from the exodus from Google Reader  that took place today was NewsBlur. The service crashed under the weight off new users and their server stats suggest their userbase expanded tenfold in a day despite the fact their withdrew their free edition to try to stem the server issues they experienced. The service is not just a website but also a pretty decent mobile and tablet app available for both iOS and Android. At $1 a month it won’t break the bank, but that’s $1 more than you were paying using Google Reader and also ties you into using their app.

Other options will include Feedly, which currently uses Google Reader for its backend but promises to switch to their own system by the time Google Reader shuts in three months. Their app has been widely praised and the transition should be seamless if you’re already using it.

Likewise another popular app for iOS and Mac, Reeder, says they’ll find a way of keeping the lights on when Google Reader closers. Other apps like FeedDemon have announced they’ll be closing though and other such as Newsify have so far been silent.

The good news is that whatever alternative platform you choose to move to should allow you to import your current subscriptions relatively easily as Google is letting you do a simple data dump of them into XML format. Despite the server overload we successfully did this in seconds at NewsBlur today and it’s already up and running as our iPhone RSS reader.

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Google Reader closes, replacement mobile RSS readers reviewed

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