OttoPilot’s Alexandra Gibson must have done something wrong in her past life to invoke some bad Google karma. On July 1, 2013, Google will be shutting down her beloved Google Reader in order to consolidate and commit its focus toward other Google projects.

Google Reader Shuts Down

In all seriousness, many of us were fans of Google’s feed reader and will be sad to see it go. Luckily, Google is giving us over 4 months to find a worthy RSS feed aggregator alternative. Today I’ve taken the plunge to find the best Google Reader replacement out there, and here is what I have found, along with some instructions on how to quickly and easily download and transfer your Google reader subscriptions to a new reader.

If you aren’t familiar with RSS feeds or readers, read our terminology post What is an RSS feed? to learn more!

Google Take-out

First, whether you take the steps I’ve outlined below or not, I recommend visiting Google Take-Out to download your current RSS feed subscriptions into .XML and .JSON files to store on your computer or cloud drive.

Export your RSS feed subscriptions with Google Take-Out

Simply click “Create Archive” and download the file when it is complete. This file will allow you to import your favorite website feeds into the new reader of your choice (assuming compatibility) at any point in the future.

Google Take-out export subscriptions

Make sure there are no errors during the archiving process. When I first downloaded my file, the subscriptions.xml file (probably the most important file) was missing due to an error.

Select a new RSS Reader. My Choice: Feedly

While there are many feed reader alternatives to choose from, my new RSS feed reader of choice is Feedly. Its interface is very clean and minimal, similar to Google Reader, and they have made it easy to begin your switch from Google Reader to their platform. With a similar layout to Google Reader, there isn’t too much of a learning curve!

Seamlessly transfer your Google Reader subscriptions to Feedly

Feedly started out primarily as a Google Reader web app, so they have made quick strides to make this transition quick and easy for its users, both old and new. As long as you login to Feedly with your Google account before July 1, 2013, your feeds will be seamlessly transferred. For more information on transferring and organizing your feeds into Feedly, visit their blog.

feedly google reader alternative

Other Free RSS Reader Options

Even though I am a fan of Feedly, it doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily be your new reader of choice. Here are two other good options if Feedly isn’t your cup of tea.

The Old Reader

The Old Reader has set out to give you a similar look and feel to Google Reader. You can login with your Facebook or Google account and import your feeds using the files you downloaded from Google Take-out. Unfortunately due to the large influx of visitors who are attempting to import their feeds, you have to wait until there is an available slot to import your feeds. Since I haven’t been able to import my subscriptions yet, I can’t give much of a review at the moment, but I do enjoy the nostalgic layout.


Skimr is a very clean and very minimal reader. As far as I can tell, they do not currently have an easy way to import your feeds from Google Reader, but it is a very simple interface that I am sure users will enjoy.

Have you started switching your RSS feeds over to a new reader? Please share your choice with us below!