How to Survive without Google Reader!

July 8, 2013

google reader

Adios, Google Reader! By now, you might have heard that Reader retired on July 1st. Yep, it's Gonesville. Forever. Google says that usage of the product declined since its debut in 2005, so they decided to discontinue it for good.

LilSis and I both used Reader to manage our blog subscriptions, so we were bummed to hear of its demise. There is hope though for life after Google Reader!

The first thing you need to know is that even though you can't use Reader to view posts any more, you do still have a few more days to salvage all of your subscription info. I definitely didn't want to lose track of all the blogs I've subscribed to over the years, and I don't want you to either.

Here are the steps you need to take asap to avoid losing your subscription info:

  1. On July 15th, all of your subscription data will be permanently and completely deleted, so take this first step before then. Go to Google Takeout to download your information, and click on “Choose Services”. You probably only care about Reader, so select that. You'll be taken to a screen that shows the size of the download Takeout will generate and the number of files involved. Click on “Create Archive”.
  2. You'll be taken to a page called “Control Your Data”. When your archive is finished, you'll see “Complete” and the file name at the right side of the status bar. When it's complete, click on “Download”. During this process, you may be asked to provide your Reader login user name and/or password.
  3. When the file has finished downloading, you'll see that it is a WinShrink file that contains several files, including one called subscriptions.xml.  To make these files available for use, click on “Extract” and pay attention to where you tell WinShrink to save the files. If these steps have gone as planned, you have now retrieved the information you need from Google Reader, so that you can import it into another program and use it.
  4. The next step is to decide which program you want to use to manage your blog subscriptions from now on. I can't say that I'm an expert on this topic. Your options include Feedly, NewsBlur, the Old Reader, Reeder and several others. This alternative summary will give you a little info on each. I already had Feedly downloaded a while back (for some reason), so that's what I'm using. It seems to be a popular option. When you've made a decision, you can click on the product you like, and download it right from this page.
  5. The only thing left to do is now import your subscriptions.xml file into your program of choice. With Feedly, I just had to click on “Import OPML” and then tell Feedly where I had saved the extracted WinShrink files; specifically subscriptions.xml. Once I did that, all of my subscriptions loaded in the categories I had specified in Reader, so now I'm up and running without missing a beat. Voila!

This process is actually easier than the five steps make it appear, so I hope you won't be intimated to do it. The most important thing you can do is make sure you grab your archive from Google Reader before it is deleted on July 15th! If you do that successfully, you could wait and follow steps 4 and 5 later. The risk in waiting until after July 15th for those last 2 steps however is that if you had any glitch in downloading the info, you won't have a second chance to try to retrieve it again.

I think I'm going to like Feedly, and don't see a big learning curve. I hope this little tutorial helps you make a smooth transition to life after Google Reader! Good luck!


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