I’ve got a bunch of family coming to town so I’ll be taking a few days off from the blog. Since Google Reader is closing down in 10 days, I wanted to share my replacement plans before taking off.
Here’s what I’m looking for:
- Simple interface with previews and quick next post / mark unread functions.
- If there’s a “magazine” or “tiled” or other space-wasting view, have an alternative that is simple and clean.
- Fast, fast fast.
- Business model that makes sense.
- Good Android client, or integration with a good Android client.
- I don’t care about sharing, integration with social media, etc. I just want a RSS reader, like it’s 2001.
Feedly, which is pretty popular, doesn’t have a business model, and it pushes the Magazine view way too hard (especially in the app) for my taste. Newsblur’s Android client, and really the whole Newsblur experience, struck me as pretty clunky.
I have been using the Press Android client, and I like it, so I started using one of the services they support, Feedbin. It’s a one man operation, but it has a business model ($2 month / $20 year), and I like what he’s done with the app in just a few months. Here’s a screenshot (click to embiggen).
Almost everyone’s monitor is based on a cheap, wide HDTV screen from China, and Feedbin uses it intelligently. From left to right, it shows a list of all your feeds, a preview of the current feed’s items, and then the text of the current item. If you click on the little armchair icon, FeedBin will grab the entire article and run it through Readability, which is a service that gets rid of all the junk on a site and formats it as text and pictures. It works pretty well.
Feedbin also has keyboard shortcuts, which sounds nerdy, but once you learn a couple, you can fly through your feeds. I’ve been using it for a little under two weeks, and there’s been zero downtime, and it’s always fast. The downsides are that it doesn’t display YouTube videos inline (I contacted the developer and he said he’s planning on that after the big Reader switch over), and I’d like a way to mark articles as read in the center column without clicking and loading the right article (but that’s a minor quibble).
The Apple RSS app Reeder, which gets good reviews, also uses Feedbin for syncing.
If Feedbin’s author keeps up the pace of upgrades and fixes, I’m thinking it will be pretty close to perfect by the Fall, but if not, I can export my feeds and use another client. I’m sure that many of you have tried other alternatives than the ones mentioned here, so go ahead and share them below.