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So Social

Life without Google Reader

Five alternatives to the popular service, just in case you're having trouble coping

By Scott Kleinberg, Tribune Newspapers

July 3, 2013

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When Google announced it was discontinuing Google Reader as of July 1, you would have thought someone canceled coffee. The roar of the social media crowd was deafening, and you could almost hear people scrambling to find a suitable alternative.

What alternative? This is Google Reader. There can't be an alternative to something we've known and trusted for so long, can there? Don't worry. While Google purists will say there's no replacing a classic, RSS fans will be happy to know substitutes are plentiful and some of them are pretty good.

I would need a lot of space to list all the Google Reader alternatives, so I'll just stick with five for now.

Feedly In terms of popularity, nothing comes close to Feedly. And it's not exactly new, with many people trusting it before the news about Google Reader was announced. The best part about it is how customizable it is, and it works well with other apps. Available for iOS, Android and on the web.

Pulse is nothing like Google Reader, and for some that's a great thing. Pulse takes all of your feeds and articles and serves them up in a visual way and even suggests the ones it thinks you'll like the most. It looks beautiful on a phone and a tablet, as well as a big monitor. Available for iOS, Android and on the web.

Flipboard is what I use to keep track of articles that interest me most. I was never a big Google Reader user (please don't hurt me), but that's because I prefer a visual presentation. And I love how easy it is to share from Flipboard. While I'm also a big fan of Pulse, I love that Flipboard allows me to create magazines to add content and share that content with all of my friends. So I can – and do – have a social media magazine where I regularly add content. Flipboard is for mobile users (iOS and Android) but magazines can be edited quite nicely on the web.

The Old Reader looks a lot like Google Reader and is really simple to use. It's currently in beta, but in my testing worked without any bugs. There is no official The Old Reader mobile app, but the company points out that it does have an API so people can create apps.

AOL Reader Raise your hand if you just said "there's an AOL reader?" (My hand is raised). While AOL might not be the first name you think of in RSS, it's simple reader is just that — simple. And it works. The company says it's in beta, but if you are looking for a simple Google Reader alternative, you may want to take it for a spin. Available for IOS, Android and web.

As I mentioned earlier, these five are far from the only choices. But I'd start here and see what you think before searching for something else.

What are your favorite Google Reader alternatives? And what questions do you have about social media? Tweet them to @scottkleinberg or @amyguth. We might select yours for use in a future column.