Google Reader Woes

By now everyone who uses Google Reader has seen the news – this tool has been given its crash papers. TechCrunch’s headline Good Riddance, Google Reader broke my heart, and judging by the comments, the hearts of others as well. Perhaps I have a secret aversion to change – wait a minute, no, I definitely don’t.

Like many others, I moved to Google Reader in 2009 when Newsgator decided to discontinue its online application. Since then, my library team and I have used Reader to select and aggregate information from feeds in a number of areas for our practice groups. I have recommended Reader to others many times.

I prefer online RSS tools, rather than embedding RSS into my Outlook email for a few reasons:

  1. Volume – I have hundreds of feeds and sharing
  2. Use – Aggregating feed headlines and first paragraphs for pushing out collections to practice groups
  3. Mobility functions – I like to look at RSS feeds on multiple devices and it is easier to do that with a browser/app based tool. I use Reader via browser on my desktop at home or the office, and via the Google App on my iPad, and never on my iPhone since I often want to copy and paste and it is a pain in the neck on that device

Despite RSS tool suggestions from SocialTimes, Lifehacker, and Mashable, I am testing out RSS in Outlook. One good reason to use Outlook for monitoring RSS tasks is so that my team can share some feed folders – one subscription rather than each duplicating feeds so that we can cover each others gathering tasks. So far, I disllike RSS in Outlook.

It was easy to import my feeds, but the folders items were sorted into did not transfer over from Reader. Another issue is that once feeds are collected in folders, there is no indication at the folder level that there are unread items – either in the desktop version of Outlook or the iPhone email embedded RSS folders. This is a major flaw.



I have been a fan of Google Reader for quite a few years, and I will miss it.


  1. Thanks, Shaunna. I have liked the use of Google Reader for pushing out selected feeds, groups of feeds or selected news items to groups also. Thank you for sharing what you are testing out.

    I suppose we could also use Yahoo! Pipes for aggregating feeds and pushing to a web page or intranet page; however, learning to set up Pipes is not as easy as Google Reader.

  2. Feedly lets you import your Reader feeds easily, I’m liking it:

    “More Than 500,000 Google Reader Users Migrate to Feedly”

  3. Margot – Feedly is getting great reviews, and would be a good choice if Firefox was my network supported browser at the office. Working on that. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Connie, I have never been able to get my Yahoo! Pipes to output properly to an email. I agree that it isn’t easy to set up, but it would sort out some of the work sharing issues – but for the (probably MY) mail problem.

  4. I’m just doing the opposite, I turn the newsletters to RSS so that inbox is tidy and just about operation or social. Separating mail and news as much as possible so that I can dedicate a fixed time slot for news while keeping outlook running all day as a communication tool.

    Other drawback of using outlook is that you effectively do the fetch and aggregate of RSS from your desktop. If you are on leave or travelling with a low bandwidth you will not be able to catch up with same feeds.

    For desktop viewing I have been using Sharpreader or RSSBandit. It gives a similar display to outlook without surcharging outlook.

    I am preparing an image with other software more server side.

    Another limitation of feedly is that you can’t read internal feeds and it lacks https.


  5. Thanks Bruno.

    I have detarmined after a week of testing that using Outlook for email is fine for personal RSS monitoring but stinks for monitoring for others. It is a PITA to copy and paste headings and body content seperately. It also turned out that my plan: “One good reason to use Outlook for monitoring RSS tasks is so that my team can share some feed folders” was not as easy as it should be using RSS folder sharing properties.

    Our team search for a web based RSS reader to share continues…