Have your hot, salty tears yet dried following the news that Google is to send Google Reader off to that dusty news feed in the sky? (Last day at work is July 1, so put that date in your diary and remember to bake a Good Luck pie.) The decision hasn't come as a surprise to Reader's creator, Chris Wetherell, who saw this day coming some time ago, he told GigaOm.
So let us now turn to the alternatives. That's right, fear not chums, for there are other tools, other sites, other rivers that will flow newsy links at a swift pace. Let us consider what it is you're looking for, and then help match you with the best choice. They're all free, unless indicated.
If you're in denial (atrocious river joke ahoy!) about GR's demise.
Then you need Feedly, my friends. It's simple, it's free, it's multi-talented (in that it's available as a web service as well as an iOS and Android app. It has both a Save For Later and a History function, and it's great for sharing on social media. The Old Reader. It is, it says, just like Google Reader was back before October 2011. Still in beta, it seems to be more like a quirky reader created by and for people miffed at Mountain View's changes to Google Reader. Will it last? Hmmm.
NewsBlur. NewsBlur has both free and premium models. The upside of the free version is that it's, uh, free, the downside is that you can only see 10 feeds at a time, with a grand total of 64 in total. Pay $1 per month, however, and it becomes the RSS equivalent of an all-you-can-eat Mongolian buffet. That is, unlimited.
If you're a visual person.
With a slightly suspect motto ("DJ your news" !!?), Taptu works as both a curated feed and one you can edit yourself, adding your favorite websites to Taptu's existing picks. One grouse is that the Taptu apps are a bit slow to react, but it's easy to switch to your browser should you want to explore a link in-depth. And there's also Pulse, which LinkedIn has reportedly expressed an interest in. How much of an interest? Somewhere between $50 million and $100 million, actually.
If you're a mobile social media obsessive
Can we interest you in Flipboard? It's only iOS and Android based, with no web presence at all, and works off your Flickr, Twitter and Facebook feeds. It looks good, is more magazine than river, so molto bene for tablet users. And what about Google Currents? A-ha! I bet you didn't even know that Google has a sort of replacement for its Reader service. Well, it does! And it's also going to be a big hit for tablet and mobile users. It's free—huzzah!—and it turns all your reading matter into a well-designed online magazine, as well as featuring breaking news alerts.
If you want to impress with your geekiness/need a news feed sidebar on your website.
Fever. Costing a one-time fee of $30, this feed demands a lot of input. But once you're done with it, Fever will show you what everyone else is reading—hence the name. It's for those of you who are nuts about web analytics. See also Managing News. As is NetVibes. It's old-school RSS feed, if you're the kind of person who's still rolling in Adidas shelltoes and Swifty Lazar spectacle frames, but it also has the ability to give you up-to-the minute analytics on your own site. This is for the pros, baby. And the Premium edition, which includes analytics, will cost you a very pro-style $499 per month. The feed alone is free.
And then there's this little pre-beta offering from someone called Arpith Siromoney, and which might be worth further exploration. Like Managing News, it's open-source, which means that you can tinker with it and ensure its survival rather than, wake up to the news that your reader won't read any more. (It looks like NetNewsWire is also in this category.)
If you want to know what is happening, like NOW.
Twitter Lists. The news feed from an up and coming social media site called Twitter—you may have heard of it. If you want your news served so hot you'll probably burn the roof of your mouth, then this is the one for you—and it's free. The downside is it's not so good for older stories.
If you want something brand spanking new to impress your friends.
Digg has officially announced its own news reader, which had been in the works to launch in the second half of 2013, will become the team's top priority.
Three years ago, our own Farhad Manjoo explained how his annoyance with RSS had caused him to create his own system. Time-consuming yes, he explained, but, with careful cultivation, it was, in the long run, an easier system to manage than the many-headed hydra that RSS feeds could become.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the readers on offer, but which of these alternatives do you see yourself moving to, come July? Or have you already switched? What have we missed that you think our readers should know about? Fill our RSS-less comments section with ideas, please!
Update: Smartypants reader firm Zite announced that it has rebuilt a version of Google Reader for Zite. It's not perfect—"there are some limitations" says Zite—but it's a gesture for all those fans of the original who've been left disgruntled by Mountain View's decision.
[Image by Flickr user Jayel Aheram]