Feedly, the best replacement for Google Reader [Review]

2013-05-13 11.05.06

Feedly is a modern application built for reading RSS feeds. It grew in popularity as being an alternative client for Google Reader. Since Google announced it would pull the plug on Reader, Feedly has gained more attention for stating that it will provide its own feed aggregation service and provide a seamless transition for Google Reader users. Is this the news app for you? Read on to find out.

2013-05-13 11.05.40

iOS never received an official Google Reader client, the closest was Feedler which closely mimicked the bare-bones style of the Google Reader mobile site. Feedly was one of several apps to come along to take the content offered by Google Reader and wrap it in an attractive and engaging user interface. Another app to do this is Flipboard, although its Google Reader integration was only a subset of where it sourced its information. Feedly, however, bares a much closer structural resemblance to Google Reader than its glossy competitor, even though it has its own directory of feeds to choose from too.

2013-05-13 11.04.55

Feedly has several modes in which it can display the items in a news feed. The most Google-Reader-like is the “Title-only” mode, however there is the “List” mode which shows titles and small thumbnail images, likewise for the “Magazine” mode which shows larger images with occasional fullscreen thumbnails, and finally the “Card view” shows fullscreen thumbnails for every news item. These options are accessed via the very Android-like triple dot “…” menu icon, along with other options like sorting older articles first and marking all items as read. I would have liked to see an option to make everything older than a day, a week, etc, marked as read though.

2013-05-13 11.05.17

Feedly comes complete with a mini-tutorial which explains how to navigate with the app’s gesture system. It’s good that this is included as there’s no visual cues as to how to move around the app. While this might sound like a criticism, it isn’t really as the gesture system is the most enjoyable aspect of using Feedly. For example, swiping in from the left-hand side of the screen reveals the list of feeds and the groups you’ve put them in on Google Reader’s website.

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That reflection of your Google Reader folder structure really shows that this app can rightly make a claim at being the successor to Google Reader – especially in light of the developers having reverse engineered a Google Reader back-end that other clients will also be able to use.

2013-05-13 11.04.41

Feedly is especially good on iOS, slightly better than the Android version, when it comes to intricate features like which apps can be shared to. While both versions support Bit.ly API keys, and adding articles to Pocket, but the iOS version can directly link to the Buffer app for iOS (which, if haven’t heard of it, is a social network post scheduler). Not only that, but it also supports the Chrome browser in its other sharing options.

2013-05-13 11.05.30

My only complaint with Feedly is that there is currently no way to move feeds from one group to another. To do that you have to turn to a desktop browser, either on the Google Reader website (while it’s still live), or on the Feedly web app.

Feedly is free and is so far the best replacement for Google Reader.

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Categories: iPhone Apps, Reviews

  • http://www.facebook.com/hajo.schatz Ha Jo

    Wish your reviews would be a bit more objective. While Feedly certainly has a much fresher look than Feedler does, on the usability side Feedly still lacks way behind Feedler. It starts with Feedly being very memory-hungry, therefore crashing often. Once it crashed when you read an article, that article is lost from easily being opened again (yes, they recently introduced “recently read” but that doesnt always get updated either). Next, Feedly can’t load pages and display them “text only” as Feedler could. That makes quick browsing much more cumbersome. Finally, there are quite some bugs with displaying the articles in the various list modes — especially for languages which use longer words, headlines of cards often flow into other cards. I for one will be very very sad the day that Feedler stops working, I haven’t found any decent alternative yet :(

    • http://rounak.me/ Rounak Jain

      IMO the real test for feedly would be when Google Reader shuts down and Feedly puts its own syncing system to test.

      • http://www.davidgilson.co.uk David Gilson


    • http://www.davidgilson.co.uk David Gilson

      Hi there.
      I’ll agree with you that it’s not possible to restrict image loading. Immediately pushing articles to Pocket mitigates this somewhat if you can do that before images come through, but you would have to be a Pocket user.

      As for stability, I have lots of apps running on my 4S and I’ve never had Feedly crash, so I can’t confirm your observation there.