What's awesome about it? What elements need some work? What are the best alternatives?
Any anecdotes would be helpful!
When I started at Hearst, I set myself up with a pretty ridiculous set of feeds (50+) and grouped them by category: tech news, tech blogs, media blogs, entrepreneur blogs, VC blogs, etc. It was great as a utility (I don't think anyone will argue with that), but it also became such a goddamn chore to keep up on that I ended up letting all the feeds lapse over on weekends and during busier weeks.
Its most redeeming quality was probably keyword search. Assuming you have a comprehensive list of feeds, searching one word like "Instagram" lets you find all the articles that mentioned it. That made it easy to spot trends ("Hmm. Seems like everyone is talking about CMS this week.") and spin up "digests" for the team.
Worth noting, too, that I eventually realized I didn't much mind letting the feeds lapse over like that, as long as I was able to get value from Reader when I *did* use it properly. I would just skim, mark all as read, and move on.
My usage patterns are also the same with Twitter. I follow far more people than most of my friends (1,435 at last check spanning tech, media, journalism, design, food, and social entrepreneurship), but I also don't feel ANY obligation to read all of those tweets. I probably miss a quarter to a half of them — if it's *that* important, it will be retweeted, caught in my News.me, etc.
I don't use Google Reader's interface for a few reasons: its design does not suit my tastes; it feels cluttered; its default formatting isn't as visually pleasing as other options.
While I don't like the front-end, it is a very good place for storing a starting point of feeds to pull across to other services. Most RSS readers allow importing from Google Reader.
A few of the services I do use (using most of my Google Reader feeds) are:
Feedly - feedly.com
Pulse - pulse.me
And one extra: Undrip - undrip.com. It doesn't use Google Reader - instead Twitter and Facebook - but it works very well.
If you just don't like the way Google Reader looks, give these a go!
I'm a content and productivity geek and have tried numerous content consumption systems and tools throughout the years. Recently, I settled on one that (I think) will serve me for quite a while.
At the center of it all is Pocket (formerly ReadItLater).
...combined with the IFTTT recipes that make it like an RSS reader.
- Their new design is killer. Simple, powerful and super intuitive.
- Same for the iPhone, iPad and Mac apps. Here are the Mac desktop apps. getpocket.com
- The Android app has stellar reviews as well
- On my Mac, I use the first one listed, Read Later, which also works with Instapaper -> mischneider.net. This has replaced my Desktop RSS readers.
- Unlike Instapaper (which I love) Pocket even does video well. It's great being able to save videos to watch later and even offline, like in the subway.
How I use it:
Stuff I want to read later:
Any article I want to read, I just click the +Pocket bookmarklet. This is also useful for quickly reducing the number of tabs I have open (usually way too many). It also allows you to quickly tag articles as you save them.
I use the following IFTTT recipes to get content into Pocket:
- Add new items from an RSS Feed to Pocket
- Save favorited tweets with links to Pocket
- Mark Watch Later on Youtube and save it to Pocket
- Mark Watch Later on Vimeo and save it to Pocket
I particularly love how I can favorite a tweet (I use Twitter favorites a reminder to read the link later) and Pocket saves the tweet AND the full text of the article.
I just have to remember to open Pocket and let it sync before I hop in the subway. :)
There are also 292 apps that integrate with Pocket, so you can use it with Google Reader or your favorite content site
I used to use Evernote for this workflow but now I've split it.
Since most content I consume is disposable, I use Pocket to read it and then delete it. If it's truly worth saving long-term, I can either keep it in Pocket (the tags system works well) or move it to the appropriate file in Evernote.
Sorry if this seems off topic but this workflow has completely replaced by GoogleReader -> Evernote workflow.
Hope this helps. Happy to answer any questions.
I think the biggest thing that's gone missing from Google Reader is the share function they used to have. It was built directly in to the interface and you could carefully choose who exactly you would watch – ensuring awesome content at all times in you shared articles section. Google removing this to force people over to Google+ was most vocally opposed by the (hilariously named) Sharebros (see sharebro.org)
I'm always checking out other ways to organize content, and I agree with Clay above that Pocket is excellent. I don't see it as a replacement for Reader, more of a supplement. It doesn't work as well in organizing huge swaths of content, but it really shines when you want to save just that one long article or video.
I used to be addicted to GReader but over time Twitter won me over. I'm still quite interested on the way they did social sharing among friends and it's something we have been trying to build into Kippt.com, the link saving app we're building.
It's actually funny how much requests we get from users who would like to pull links with RSS into Kippt and it's definitely something I see happening a lot with other similar apps as well.
Hm. @Graham and @Jori - I'd never really considered maintaining Reader just to use it as RSS piping into different services.
That makes sense, but I guess I'm just ever less inclined to use the destination site as the atomic unit of what I want to read. I go read Brian Stelter* more often than I read the New York Times. I don't read Daring Fireball religiously, but I am interested in every, say 7th post, which usually pop up in my Twitter feed anyway.
(*I realize you could technically RSS his author feed, too, but that's kind of a hacky solution and not really what Reader is built for.)
I'm a huge Google Reader fan. I find RSS to be the best way to skim a lot of content and to send articles to Instapaper. I'm always reading stuff on the subway.
I find the best desktop (for Mac) and iPhone/iPad client for Google Reader to be Reeder (reederapp.com). The design is awesome, it's easy to skim, and it's easy to send links to Twitter, Instapaper, or anywhere else.
Beyond that, Feedly is good in Chrome.
I've tried to use Twitter to replace everything, but it still doesn't have the coverage that Google Reader does. I've also tried Flipboard and a few of the "recommendation" readers like Zite. GR is still the best.
I find Google Reader to be very useful in the same way that Zach does. I don't use it as a way to make sure that I have read all the articles from each source on a daily basis, etc., but instead I use it to have groups of newspapers, periodicals, and blogs that I can quickly skim through. It allows me to get quickly to content without having to navigate the bloated website interfaces that those magazines and newspapers have (as I suppose any competent RSS feed would do), and I have just found Google Reader's interface to work very well for my purposes. It is very easy to just skim through a day's worth of my "News" folder (comprised of NYT, WSJ, Politico, WaPo, Reuters) and quickly build up a set of new tabs from them to then read.
On the mobile front, I have also tried to start using Flipboard, and I do like the interface when I am not in any rush to cover a lot of ground. Unfortunately, it's a little too slow for me for any other purposes, so I have stuck to Reeder as well.
I haven't tried as many of the alternatives as some of you have, but I've found the Google Reader interface to be a very easy way to skim through content, access the long-form when I want to, and quickly e-mail those links to my friends who might be interested. Too bad Buzz didn't work out though...
Thanks for your feedback! Team Branch