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Continued: Review: Demise of Google Reader leads to alternative with more features

  • Article by: ANICK JESDANUN , AP Technology Writer
  • Last update: June 19, 2013 - 7:55 PM

— With Reader, items are automatically marked as read as I scroll down, so that they won't reappear the next time. Feedly does that, too, in a non-default layout that most resembles Reader's. That part is good. But while Feedly offers additional layout options, it doesn't take full advantage of its greater breadth. It would have been nice to have auto-marking when scrolling in those layouts as well.

— Many websites let you easily add their feeds by clicking on a button. Reader is usually among the options, but Feedly isn't yet. Instead, you must copy and paste the Web address for the feed into Feedly. But Feedly is better than Reader at suggesting feeds to add, if you don't have specific ones in mind for a given topic.

I did try one other service that makes it as easy as Feedly to transfer feeds from Reader and discover new ones. But that service, called Pulse, does require you to set up a separate Pulse account or use Facebook's — not Google's. If you can get past that added hassle, Pulse does the rest of the work for you once you log in to your Google account. There's no Google data file to create, save and import.

Unfortunately, articles are presented as tiles, similar to what you see in Microsoft's oft-criticized Windows 8 operating system. That works fine when you're choosing apps on a tablet computer. On desktop and laptop computers, I find a list much easier to read and scroll through. I had a backlog of more than 20,000 articles, and I wasn't about to click on 20,000 squares.

There are dozens of other services I didn't get a chance to try. Some of them are more geared toward mobile devices. Others are still in development. For example, a popular site called Digg promises one on June 26, just five days before Reader's cutoff.

I'm sure there's one out there that matches or exceeds what Feedly offers, but I saw no need to look further.

Feedly has tripled its user base to 12 million since Google announced Reader's retirement. The growth has given Feedly incentive to work on new features. Feedly has also designed the system so that outside developers can build apps for it. You can use one to run Feedly on BlackBerry phones, for instance.

Feedly isn't perfect, but switching to it will make Reader's demise easier to accept.

___

Anick Jesdanun, deputy technology editor for The Associated Press, can be reached at njesdanun@ap.org.

___

Online:

Feedly: http://feedly.com

Pulse: http://pulse.me

Reader (until July 1): http://reader.google.com

Farewell announcement: http://googlereader.blogspot.com

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