Google's seemingly indispensable RSS feed bundler will die on July 1. Google Reader fans will have to come up with an alternative unless the backlash convinces the company to change course.
Google+ Kills Reader
One of the best parts about Reader was the ability to share items from within the app, and Google did away with this handy tool when it launched Google+. Now, there is a massive hole in many a newshound's workflow, and while we have a few months before it becomes official, people need time to try out some decent alternatives.
The problem is, plenty of those alternates actually depend on the Google Reader functionality to operate, so while people may check them out, they too are in danger of shuttering. An app called Feedly for sure took advantage of Google Reader's flexibility, but the company has announced any current users who had plugged Reader into it would continue to be able to use the service via Feedly's own servers.
Feedly is a Firefox plugin and an iOS or Android app. It's got a polished design, is free and the current version has a five star rating on iTunes (nearly 4,000 votes). It syncs with all the popular social networks for quick sharing, and items can be saved for later reading or quickly dropped from the list if they aren't deemed worthy.
Feedly makes sharing easy, and works on desktop and mobile devices.
Bloglovin is less of a true RSS reader than Reader or Feedly, but it does include some nice discovery features. That way, the items people already follow can help Bloglovin recommend new blogs that are similar. It's also pretty easy to move Google Reader accounts to. Google Reader accounts need to be archived and downloaded, and they can then be uploaded to Bloglovin.
This is a design oriented app, but it also works on the desktop or mobile devices.
Netvibes is more akin to a social media monitoring tool like Hootsuite, but like the above mentioned items, there is a free version. There are also paid versions that include things like analytics and support for those who do things like social media. But as an RSS reader, the free version works fine.
It's highly customizable, but there aren't native mobile apps available. Instead, the desktop version is shared to iOS devices, for example, with a connector called Netvibes Mobile. To start the Netvibes app, go to the website and select the free version. It will load a sample app, and registration can be done from inside there.
This is the Netvibes Widgets view, but it can be turned off to see a more traditional, Google Reader style layout.
Flud also comes in free or paid varieties, but it's also less of a traditional RSS reader like Netvibes. It's actually more akin to Yammer. It's for sharing news across teams, and the Flud Plus plan allows for up to five private groups to be built. In fact, there is an enterprise version that can connect directly to Yammer or Salesforce Chatter.
Flud for Web or mobile devices is a stylish way to share news across teams. iPad app shown above.
Rolio is a startup, and it may be the kind of company that can innovate in the Google Reader vacuum. The space is now ripe for just such a thing, and Rolio is tackling it in a similar manner as most of our other recommendations. It's more than just an RSS reader, and it integrates social media fairly well into an aggregated news feed. It's free, and native iOS and Android apps are in development now.
Best of all, Google Reader feeds can be imported so all that time spent cultivating one's sources can be saved. Remember, July 1 Google Reader goes silent, so try out some alternates and then give us your best Google rant in the comments section.