As I’m sure you have all heard by now, Google are retiring Google Reader (along with some API’s and widgets) as part of their spring clean round 2. The news has shocked and angered many as Google Reader is a widely used RSS feed reader. From July 1st it will no longer be available. You have until then to export your reader data and subscriptions. I’ve written a brief list of alternatives below.
- Bloglovin’ – My favourite way to follow blogs. I love that I can mark something as read and because you can add any URL I can follow many blogs and websites all in one place and keep them organised. One common mistake people make with Bloglovin’ is they think that it scrapes you’re content, this is not true. The content is yours and the reader is sent to your blog so you get the views. Bloglovin’ is an open RSS feed, quite like Google Reader. You don’t need to have an account on Bloglovin’ for your blog to be on it, if your blog is on it that means that someone is following it. Read this guide to Bloglovin’ which will show you how to set up an account, claim your blog, follow other blogs and import Google Reader feeds.
- Social media sites – Google+, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Create Twitter Lists & Facebook Interests – Create a list for each different topic of blog; life, beauty, fashion, food, diy, etc.
- Pulse – Kind of like Stumble-upon but can add your own feeds. It is a visual reader, which I like. Looks very sleek! You can add social media, blogs, magazines, websites, newspapers, etc and has a wide range of topics to choose form.
- Feedly – A great alternative to Google Reader with a nice clean website with 4 viewing styles and different themes. Login using Google to automatically transfer all your Google Reader feeds, then add a URL, title or topic to find the sites you want to follow. You can add each feed to a category to keep everything organised. While going through your feed, you can add posts to a “read later” section, share, open in a new tab, see your reading history. I love that it integrates with your browser so you can add a feed while browsing.
- LinkyFollowers – Very similar to Google Friend Connect. Can be used on Blogger & WordPress
- Canopi – Similar to She Said Beauty or HelloCotton (now closed). It is a social media type site which allows you to read and follow blogs.
- Digg Reader – Not been released yet but they are set to replace Google Reader. You can read more on the Digg blog. Update: Digg has launched, read my review of the new Digg Reader here.
- FlipBoard – Another magazine type visual reader app. Takes some getting used to but it’s pretty cool for reading on the go.
Other great alternatives to Google Reader
- She Said Beauty
- Pearltrees – Online Bookmarking tool
What’s happening to Google Friend Connect (GFC)?
A lot of questions are being asked about Google Friend Connect – the tool used by bloggers everywhere, will it stay or go? The theory is that because GFC uses something similar to Google Reader to follow blogs, that it too will be retired. HOWEVER, Google reader refers to the RSS Feed Reader not Bloggers Dashboard Reader. When you follow a blog via GFC, it goes to your Blogger Reader Dashboard. This is similar to Google Reader but they are NOT connected. Google have only mentioned Google (RSS) Reader and not Google Friend Connect.
Although, a quick gadget search shows Blogger promoting Google+ Followers/Circles rather than GFC. If you go to “Add a Gadget”, the first three gadgets shown are Google+, you now have to click “more gadgets” and scroll down to the bottom to find GFC Followers. My opinion is yes, Google Friend Connect will also retire…maybe not on July 1st but eventually it will be removed so migrating your blog followers elsewhere is a good idea but GFC will still be around, for now. Let me know your thoughts on this.
GFC HAS NOT BEEN CONFIRMED!
There has been no confirmation that Google Friend Connect will also be retired in the future. Google have only mentioned that Google Reader will be removed on July 1st. The ideal way to have people follow your blog is via email subscription, therefore you are in control and have their details to let them know updates or changes but this is not the most convenient way. What way do you follow blogs? Personally I prefer Bloglovin’ – heres why.
Edit Dec 17th: Google Friend Connect Widget has disappeared
Twitter exploded with panic today as people noticed that the GFC gadget was no longer showing on their Blogger blogs. I’ve received quite a few emails about it today so I looked into it and from what I’ve seen there’s no need to panic, it’s just a glitch. You can still add the GFC gadget to your blog via the layout tab, the reading list (which is blogs you follow via GFC) is still visible on the dashboard and the amount of followers your blog has is also still visible on Bloggers homepage. Google tend to release a spring clean list of products and services that they will remove each year and GFC was not on that list for 2013. In saying all that, I do recommend trying alternative ways to follow your favourite blogs and encourage your readers to follow you elsewhere also instead of “putting all your eggs in one basket” so to speak. You can read above about why I think GFC is coming to an end.
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