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Thursday, June 27th, 2013 technology  research  practice

A Practice Tip

  • Practice

Rest in Peace, Google Reader

When it comes to Google Reader, the world is pretty much divided into two camps.

There are the power-users, for whom this soon-to-be-expired RSS service has long been an indispensable lifeline to the news of the day. And then there is the rest of the world, known primarily (in this regard) for uttering bewildered phrases like “what’s Google Reader?”

I suspect that a disproportionately high percentage of SlawTips readers, being so unusually sophisticated, informed, curious (and unabashedly good looking), will fall into the first camp – legal-information junkies who can’t imagine the world after the Black Monday ahead when Google will pull the plug on Reader and lay it forever to rest.

So where shall we go on July 1 to find our vital law blog updates, breaking legal news, Law Society dispatches, musings in the legal press and NHL off-season developments?

Worry not, good citizens.  SlawTips to the rescue!

Numerous solutions are now being rolled out by developers all over the planet, in a last-minute race to July that is reminiscent in urgency, at least, of a mad scramble to meet an unbendable court filing deadline by 4:30 pm on the Friday afternoon before a summer long weekend.

Some of the best of those solutions are still works-in-progress as at this writing, and time will tell which will emerge as the leader.

Digg Reader

We will be keeping a very close eye on Digg Reader, soft launched in beta yesterday, but not yet available to the general public.  Like all the fledgling replacements, it promises to speedily migrate feeds and folders from Google Reader, will offer a clean interface and will have the ability to easily share items on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.

FeeddlerRSS

The writer`s current mobile solution-of-choice is Feeddler.

Feeddler RSS is a reader app for iPhones and iPads that was originally built in reliance on the Google Reader back-end for its feed data.   Earlier this week, it released an update that allows the use of alternate RSS readers at the back-end to feed your feeds to Feeddler.

Those alternate readers, currently supported by Feeddler, are:

  • The Old Reader, a free, very clean emulation of earlier Google Reader incarnations;
  • FeedHQ, with a $12.00 (US) annual subscription fee; and
  • BazQux Reader – available in free, trial form at this point, and annual fee not stated.

All of these alternate readers will automatically import your Google Reader data, work well on your desktops, and keep your Apple mobile functionality seamlessly running without a hitch.

The writer, being old-school (as the kids like to say), has of course opted for The Old Reader as back-end, and can report that the Feeddler update and migration to this platform  has been largely successful, with only occasional hiccups.The desktop iteration of The Old Reader has very limited social media share functions, however, and this platform is probably best utilized as an adjunct to Feeddler, for mobile use alone.   A big drawback is that it doesn’t appear to synch across your various machines, so items you read on one computer may appear unread when logged in from another.

Since I am already using Feeddler, this migration was my path of least resistance, preserving my tried and true routine.  But it may prove to be a  mere stop-gap on the road to a better option in the weeks ahead.

Feedly

One such better option may well be Feedly.

Feedly is a sleek, cloud-based Google Reader alternative, available in desktop and mobile versions.  It performs a speedy import of your Google Reader data with easy-to-follow prompts through the changeover process.  It offers multiple view options, including list and magazine layouts, and allows efficient, direct click-through from titles to web versions of desired articles, effectively skipping a step and speeding up your reading experience.

This service could be one of the keepers.

Other Alternatives

Other high-profile alternatives include Newsibe, NewsBlur and AOL Reader.  I haven`t tested them yet, so you are on your own with these ones.

Back-Up Your Google Reader Data

If you will be migrating, its a good idea to back up your Google Reader data ASAP, so that you can take your feeds and folders with you after Reader shuts down.  Visit Google Takeout, where you can export your Reader and other Google data for posterity (and for risk-managing, document retention purposes, while you are at it).

This End is No End at All

So breathe a sigh of relief.  RSS life will go on, after all.

What are your plans for the end of Google Reader?  Let us know in the comments about the reader services you are going to test-drive.

– Garry J. Wise, Toronto

 

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