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Posts tagged with google.

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Google Reader

For obvious reasons, my inbox is overflowing with folk suggesting alternatives to Google Reader, or asking me to recommend alternatives to Google Reader.

Here’s the thing: there aren’t any real alternatives to Reader available today.

Of course, there are oodles of applications and services that let you read feeds, but, to quote from bonaldi’s excellent explanation of Reader’s true value on MetaFilter:

Google Reader is like an iceberg. What you see as the website is just the tip, and it’s mostly irrelevant.

So, who’s working on the stuff below sea level, so to speak?

NewsBlur is open source, provides a decent-looking API and charges $1 a month for users subscribed to more than 64 feeds. On the downside, none of the popular RSS applications offer NewsBlur synchronisation yet, and it’s struggling to stay online in the wake of Google’s announcement.

Feedly have announced Normandy, an as-yet-unreleased Google Reader API clone which they plan to open up to third-party developers. It’s probably worth pointing out that Feedly don’t charge for their services. And they’re running Normandy on Google App Engine.

The Old Reader crew deserve an honourable mention, I think. They plan to keep calm, and carry on working towards offering paid accounts and an API, but admit that they ‘have not even started coding this yet’.

TinyTinyRSS is an open-source, web-based, self-hosted feed reader with an API, a companion Android app and Liferea integration.

There’s also Fever, a $30 self-hosted solution with a clever approach to foregrounding interesting links and an API in beta. It doesn’t archive feed contents, though, and development has stalled while creator Shaun Inman concentrates on making computer games.

There’s nothing to match Reader’s core functionality available yet, then, but I tend agree with Andre Torrez’ optimistic assessment:

I don’t think this “kills RSS” as some people on Twitter have said, if anything it is good news for people who actually care about RSS and are building a business on it.

Now RSS is going to have someone spending their time delivering the best service they can, rather than spending their time trying to figure out what ads it could inject in between posts.

Providing a reasonably priced, sturdy and scalable service that replaces the stuff we’ll really miss when Google Reader disappears—the centralised aggregation, crawling and long-term storage of feeds, real-time feed updates, search, and synchronisation across apps on all platforms—is, of course, a huge challenge.

But not an insurmountable one. And it seems reasonable to suppose that at least one of the services listed above—or something new—has the potential to become the Pinboard to Reader’s del.icio.us.

Fingers crossed, eh?

TL;DR: The demise of Google Reader is an opportunity, not a disaster.

Further Reading

  • Reeder tweeted a vague announcement, promising that their apps ‘won’t die with Google Reader’.
  • FeedWrangler is an unknown quantity, but worth keeping an eye on.
  • Ditto Multiplexer.
  • Feedbin launched two days ago: web-based, $2 a month, has an API, looks pretty.
  • The above-mentioned MetaFilter thread is full of good commentary in amongst the wailing and gnashing of teeth, including contributions from original Google Reader developer Chris Weatherall (AKA ‘massless’).
  • Weatherall wrote an interesting, prescient 2011 post on the future of Reader
  • Brent Simmons (who knows a thing or two about the vagaries of RSS sync services) also saw the writing on the wall in 2011.
  • Daniel Jaikut of MarsEdit fame dreams of a ‘NetNewsWire Cloud’. I would love to see NetNewsWire return to former glories, but Black Pixel’s track record with the app doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
  • Marco ‘Instapaper’ Arment is sanguine: ‘in the long run, trust me: this is excellent news’.
  • Loveable RSS curmudgeon Dave Winer says, ‘Next time, please pay a fair price for the services you depend on’. Indeed.
  • The Data Liberation Front has instructions on extracting your data from Reader.
  • Pinboard lets you import starred and shared items from Reader.




google is:


  A ruby gem to give you the power of Google Search in your command line.


As well as searching Google and presenting nicely-formatted results, the gem cleans up pages you select with Readability and reformats them as Markdown, for easy reading in the terminal.

If you use the -l option, for ‘I’m feeling lucky!’ searches, you can pipe the top result to less, which is perfect for quick lookups:


google -l "unix philosophy" | less


You can also pipe a result from within google to (most) *nix commands. E.g., to count the words on the second result page:


2 | wc -w


NB: google requires Ruby 1.9—if your system uses an earlier version, the easiest way to get up to date is probably rvm.

 See also

Goose
surfraw

google is:

A ruby gem to give you the power of Google Search in your command line.

As well as searching Google and presenting nicely-formatted results, the gem cleans up pages you select with Readability and reformats them as Markdown, for easy reading in the terminal.

If you use the -l option, for ‘I’m feeling lucky!’ searches, you can pipe the top result to less, which is perfect for quick lookups:

google -l "unix philosophy" | less

You can also pipe a result from within google to (most) *nix commands. E.g., to count the words on the second result page:

2 | wc -w

NB: google requires Ruby 1.9—if your system uses an earlier version, the easiest way to get up to date is probably rvm.

 See also







Pure Reader prettifies Google Reader. For Safari, Chrome and Firefox.

Pure Reader prettifies Google Reader. For Safari, Chrome and Firefox.