I just un-pinned and closed my Google Reader tab in Chrome. From the day it started in 2005, Reader became my indisputable, reliable source for the rather intensive volume of information I consume daily.
Today there’s a void in my process. I’ve yet to find a true replacement though I’ve tested what I believe is all of the contenders and really have yet to find anything that’s quite ready to be called the new champion. For me Google Reader, was all about efficiency. It was ridiculously quick, worked across all my screens without a sync process (thank you web) and provided an unending stream of information. Over the years my process evolved from a structured view with folders into a more simple river of news approach. While I started viewing things by topic I found that simply going to “view all” led to a much richer flow and tended to reveal some rather serendipitous finds.
Today, I’m still bouncing through Digg Reader, AOL, Reader, Feedly, Feedbin, Ridly, FeedRebel, NewsBlur, Feedspot, The Old Reader and while some have some redeeming qualities, I definitely miss Reader. Over the years I’ve supplemented my Reader usage with some sharp daily email newsletters, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ … These sources remain just that, supplements. Unfortunately, the main source is still a work in progress.
While Feedly retains perhaps the truest view of how my Reader was structured just feels heavy by comparison with a focus on making things pretty over the core usage. They’ve made rapid progress since the Reader announcement and we’ll hopefully see some continued progress. Digg and AOL have made remarkable strides in an even shorter timeframe and I’m hoping Digg develops the right solution. Digg is clean and works quickly, but still needs some key things like viewing just unread items (seriously), a much quicker feed update, better sort and search. I also really like the social end, integration with Pocket and am enjoying the Digg revival. AOL is also pretty clean and quick and does support search … Apparently the API is ready to roll as well.
On mobile which is a primary use case for me given my commute I’m working through a few different things … I don’t like the Feedly mobile client at all so I’m using it’s sync backend with Reader HD on Android, but also dabbling with Age of Mobility’s Ridly app which is basically the same thing with a different backend. Their web version needs some work, but they could potentially evolve as the fuller solution.
Until there’s a real replacement for my evolving habits I’ve got more work and testing ahead …