Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship with #Google - Take 2

A couple days ago I posted my frustration with Google and losing both Google Reader and iGoogle. I mentioned a couple of places that I thought I'd try as replacements. Here's what's happened since then.

First, today there was a post on c|net: Google Reader has expired, but your data lives until July 15. That's good news for anyone who didn't realize that ti was going away and needs to retrieve their feeds for importing into another service.

I had wanted to try Feedly but over the weekend I couldn't get to Google Reader and ended up exporting my feeds from The Old Reader where I had imported them as soon as the first announcement was made. Unfortunately, Feedly will only import directly from Google Reader and Google Reader is no more. I suspect they will be allowing a direct OPML import soon.

On my other computer I had used RSSOwl for quite a while and liked it. I had just gotten seduced by having Google Reader on my iGoogle page and had neglected it. While The Old Reader was adequate, it was almost too simple. It also seemed to be slow in picking up new blog posts.

So I headed off to download and install RSSOwl on this laptop. Well, to make a long story short, it needed a Java installation. I broke down and installed it. Still wouldn't work. After several frustrating hours I gave up and uninstalled the whole thing.

I started searching for another stand-alone RSS reader and found GreatNews. Easily installed, easily set up, everything imported easily including my folders. Sweet! 

There are a lot of other alternatives, try them and see if they work for you. Everyone is different in what they want or need. GreatNews works for me but may be terrible for you.

Here are two PC Magazine articles to help: The Google Reader Shutdown Survival Guide and 9 Great Google Reader Replacements

Now, on to my iGoogle replacement. For the last year I've had both my iGoogle page and my MyWay.com custom page open in my browser. I used them both daily. With the demise of Google Reader, I had no real reason to continue with iGoogle, which is disappearing in November anyway. There were things I liked there that I couldn't do on my MyWay page.

So as I posted, I tried two alternatives. NetVibes and ProtoPage. I spent an hour or so on each, setting up my custom page, picking and choosing the feeds I wanted (news, health, technology, etc). I customized the colors, dragged and dropped the content until I liked the placement.

I kept both pages running over the weekend. As often happens, there were things I liked on one that I couldn't do on the other. And there were operational things I liked on the other that I couldn't do on the one. In the end NetVibes won. The good news it that I now have one less tab running in my browser.

Once again, what works for me may not for you. Some folks like the Flipboard.com approach. I use that on my Kindle but find I only use it when I'm bored. I like a concise headline type approach and both NetVibes and ProtoPage provide that. 

So jump on in, you've got nothing to lose but some time!

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