Yesterday, Google sent the healthcare Twitter community into a state of dizzying chatter with news that the popular RSS (Rich Site Summary) platform, Google Reader, is to be retired in July. For many, Google Reader has become a personalized library of must read websites that delivers new content with minimal effort from the user. Staying current with popular healthcare social media feeds like Social Media Today and Symplur, as well as healthcare industry feeds such as KevinMD and Health Care Communication News were a breeze with Google Reader and RSS. So, with Google Reader on its way out, what are some other viable options for staying up to speed on your favorite websites? Here’s a list of alternatives to Google Reader, but be forewarned, most are a bit sluggish as others are testing the waters.
- NewsBlur– A personal news reader that comes in both desktop and mobile versions. NewsBlur operates on a freemium platform which makes it a viable option in the long run. Unlike other freemium platforms, the monthly commitment is only $1, and unlocks the full system. NewsBlur has been around since mid-2010 and has a fairly steady user base.
- The Old Reader – A rather new option in the RSS world is The Old Reader. While it’s still in a beta version, the project team is very active. Since the Google Reader announcement, The Old Reader has tripled its user base and is making platform accommodations quickly. The Old Reader platform is based off of, you guessed it, the old Google Reader. So, if you’re familiar with the old Google Reader, this may be a good option to go with.
- RSSOwl – I’m always a sucker for a nice multi-platform, open source program. And RSSOwl is just that. A no frills, easy to use RSS application that will work on your MacBook and on your PC. RSSOwl has an extensive tutorial section that will help you make the transition from Google Reader in no time.
- Feedly– Feedly appears to be the front-runner in inheriting the most users from the Google Reader exodus. Feedly is a visually appealing, well reviewed, and user friendly alternative to Google Reader. The newspaper styled RSS application has you covered on mobile devices and on your desktop. While Feedly is a nice alternative, it is different. It takes some getting used to, but they Feedly team is there to help with the transition.
While everyone’s user experience needs are different and depend on how your clinic or practice uses RSS, hopefully the four options above shed some light on alternatives to Google Reader. What type of RSS reader do you currently use to stay current on healthcare news? Will Google Reader going the way of the dodo change how you consume information? Leave a comment below, send us a message on Twitter @MDWebPro, let us know on Facebook, or on Google +. We’d love to hear from you!