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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Feedly as Google Reader replacement is disappointing

Don't go! by ucumari from flickr (CC-NC-ND)
Sad panda doesn't want Google Reader to go away

Due to imminent death of Google Reader and finally getting a real phone I've been looking for a replacement and one of apps I tried was Feedly. Unfortunately it's pretty bad at its simple task.

The problem is that what RSS feeds contain are web pages. And web pages have links. And links do not work properly with Feedly on a phone.
  • Open Feedly on a phone
  • Select an article you want to read (since usually you'll only see a short summary)
  • Click Visit Website to see the whole article - this is where things start to go wrong, since instead of a real browser Feedly opens some silly view with extra buttons, but I can tolerate that
  • Click a link from the article - since it's not a real browser it doesn't have tabs, but we at least have back button, right?
  • Finish whatever linked thing you read, press back button
  • Feedly goes back to list of your feeds instead of article you were halfway through, WTF!!!
And this makes Feedly completely unusable. Web without properly working links is not really web.

Are there any alternatives before they shut down Google Reader for good?

11 comments:

Rafał Rzepecki said...

Feedly also recreated Google Reader's API, so there's some alternative clients that use their backend. See their blog for details.

BTW, this bothers me too, I learned to click "open in real browser" when I intend to do some real navigation.

Rubix said...

I switched to Newsblur back when Reader lost his sharing ability. There were 64 max feeds for the free version, and I was satisfied, even though it didn't have sharing yet.
Then 3 months ago Reader said it was "sunsetting" (damn euphemisms), and Newsblur was flooded by new users and reduced its number of free feeds to take the load. I then decided that Newsblur was good enough for me to pay 24$/y. Newsblur now has sharing (as a generated blog) and mobile apps.
Other points that convinced me: Newsblur is open source, and made by a single guy that listens to his users (he did implement one of my minor feature request in, like, 2 days).
I am happy to pay him so that he can continue to provide a free replacement for Reader, since one of my main motivation for leaving Reader at the time was disappointment at the "commercial" decision of mutilating Reader to push people towards G+.
I have heard of Feedly as the other popular replacement, but I didn't try it because I didn't see the need for a browser plugin.

chronic said...

Another vote here for NewsBlur. It has all the important (to me) features of GR, and the "intelligence training" is a lifesaver for pruning busy feeds you only want to see part of.

taw said...

NewsBlur's free version seems to be too limited, and I'm not a big fan of paying money for things, especially before I can seriously try them.

I'm going to the The Old Reader next, it's in browser, and in-browser works on the damn phone as well.

Evert said...

Not sure what sort of "real phone" you have, but apparently Feedly can be used with the 'Press' app on android (maybe same on IOS, could say for sure though).

But you are right, the Feedly app is totally unusable. So unusable it makes a paid alternative enticing.

As for alternatives to google reader, I set up feedly, because it is convenient. I couldn't get along with News Blur, I might check it out again when I have more time next month. Also looked at Feed Bin, it was nice enough, but I canceled my subscription before they realeased an app, so might look at it again (when I have more time)

taw said...

Evert: The "real phone" is Galaxy S4 replacing old BlackBerry.

I could pay for something if I was sure it ended up better than disappointing Feedly app, I just have irrational reluctance to pay for something I end up not using because it sucks.

Evert said...

Yeah, I'm the same way. The only reason I paid for my current app is because I had used the free version for months.

gReader is another alternative, that has a free version (though the paid for one is a little pricey as these things go). I can remember using it a few years ago and I was unimpressed with it. Not sure how much has changed in the meantime.

Unknown said...

I've switched to tt-rss. It isn't for everyone, since you either need to self-host, or find a friend who can host it, and need to purchase the mobile client after an eval period, but seems to be the best way to avoid shutdowns...

Marc at UNREADZERO said...

I am Marc Nishikawa, PR manager of UNREADZERO TOKYO Project Team!

We have launched a new great RSS reader web application(Free) called UNREADZERO beta.
Simple reader just works great and targets a replacement of Google RSS Reader.

Try it!

http://www.unreadzero.com

for any question and publication notices.

PressKit Link:
http://unreadzero.com/PressKit_ver090/PresKit_ver090.zip

taw said...

Marc: Having signup with facebook/twitter but not google misses the point of being Google Reader replacement pretty hard...

Unknown said...

I use the awesome Reader+ app with Feedly as backend.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ageofmobile.reader