I was first introduced to RSS readers in college. Before then, I had wondered about the popularity of blogs. I assumed people continued to check several of their favorite blogs throughout the day, hoping for a new post.
At the time, I was still a fan of a more traditional form of media — magazines. I loved the beautiful layouts and full color photographs. Most of all, I loved that several interesting stories would be contained in one convenient place.
Discovering Google Reader was a revelation. I could load all of the blogs I loved into one convenient site. New posts would automatically populate, eliminating the need to check multiple sites for new content. Google Reader quickly became my go-to site for consuming information on the Internet.
Sadly, RSS readers never really took off. Social media sites quickly filled the void for people looking for interesting things to read. While I’m still an avid user of Social Media, I’ve preferred the organization of my RSS reader. It shows me what new posts I have to read, and after I’ve read them, I can easily make them disappear. Checking it every morning has become my version of reading the morning paper.
This spring, Google made a very sad announcement. It was retiring my beloved Google Reader to focus on other projects. A very small outcry rang out around the Internet from my small group of fellow RSS reader users. Sure, there were other RSS readers, but none were as seamless or powerful as Google Reader.
Then the savior of RSS lovers everywhere emerged: Feedly. The site was perfectly poised to take Google Reader’s place. Feedly even offered the ability to import your subscriptions directly from Google Reader so the transition could happen almost seamlessly.
I do love Feedly. Its design harkens back to my beloved magazines and is much better than Google Reader. I especially like the ability to have multiple views. The mobile interface also looks great, making it perfect for tablet users.
Are there some downsides? Yes. The ability to email blogs easily to friends is no longer available. There doesn’t seem to be a way to track Craigslist search results, a feature I loved when trying to furnish my apartment. I can hope that Feedly introduces these features later.
Out of habit, sometimes I still find myself typing google.com/reader into my web browser, only to find a sad message that this site no longer exists. Fortunately, it only takes a few keystrokes to find my way back to my new RSS reader.