Google Reader — Marked As Read

So, that’s the end of Google Reader.

By now you might have already switched to Feedly or a different RSS service as Google has officially shut down its 8-year-old popular RSS reader — Google Reader. The service had many active users, but for Google, it seemed to be fading away.

Google in a post said, “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader.”

Google Reader has now been discontinued. Visiting the site would display the following message:

Thank you for stopping by.

Google Reader has been discontinued. We want to thank all our loyal fans. We understand you may not agree with this decision, but we hope you’ll come to love these alternatives as much as you loved Reader.


The Google Reader team

Google Reader Discontinued

Google Reader. Marked  as Read.

So, now what?

Well, for now you can stick to Feedly as it one of the best (free) available RSS service providing with additional features and capabilities. You can easily organize, read and share content that you have subscribed to. Feedly provides a magazine-like experience and is integrated with most of the popular social networks.

Alternatively, you can try a list of other popular service which can viewed here.

And this is how Hitler reacts to when he finds out Google Reader is shutting down:

500,000 Google Readers Users Have Switched To Feedly


Over 500,000 ex-Google Reader users have switched to Feedly, a web-based RSS reader. Feedly announced this statistic on its blog and has stated that its highest priority as a company is keeping its servers up and running during this massive influx of new users. Because of this, the company has increased its bandwidth ten-fold and has added new servers. During this time, the company’s iOS app rose to the number-one most downloaded free app on Apple’s App Store. The company also promised to bring new features to the service every week.

The reason for such a high influx of new Feedly users is due to the fact that Google announced last week that it will be shutting down Google Reader on July 1st, 2013. This announcement was met with outrage as over 100,000 Google Reader users signed a petition to keep the service alive. Google Reader is a web-based RSS reader that allows Google users to read content from various news sources in an easy to read feed. The service was originally launched as a Google Labs project in 2005 and graduated to a full-fledged Google project in 2007.

Source: Feedly Blog

Press For Android Update Brings Performance Improvements And Background Syncing

Press is hands down among the best Google Reader clients available on Android. It has been dubbed as the ‘Reeder’ for Android devices, which is no small feat.

Even then, Press is far from perfect. Until today, the app lacked background syncing notifications and had performance issues even on dual-core Android devices.

The developers of Press – TwentyFive Squares – pushed a new update to the app today which fixes most of the issues with the app and brings other new features. Below is the full change-log of the app -:

– Quick article navigation to go to next/previous articles
– Background/automatic syncing
– Sync on app launch
– Background syncing notifications
– New text-alignment options
– Show image title and URL in the image viewer. (xkcd fans rejoice!)
– Date and time formats now match device settings
– Article title is now included when sharing to social networks
– Lots of performance enhancements and bug fixes

If you are an avid Google Reader user and have not tried Press, you are missing out on probably the best way to access Google Reader on your Android device.

Developer Interview: Samuel Clay Of NewsBlur, a Google Reader Alternative

Newsblur Front Page

NewsBlur front page

Google Reader has been in the news of late after its recent changes, which have had a very sharply negative reaction from passionate fans. I had earlier written about how there are no good Google Reader alternatives in the market today and had mentioned NewsBlur then. Since then, I have been using NewsBlur daily, and have been extremely pleased with it. I got in touch with the developer, Samuel Clay, and he gladly made himself available to discuss life as an indie developer, developing NewsBlur, and how he plans on competing with Google.

Samuel Clay is an indie developer of NewsBlur. He just moved from Brooklyn to San Francisco. Previously, he worked at DocumentCloud, where they wrote Backbone.js, VisualSearch.js, Underscore.js, and many other open-source libraries. He is now at Tasty Labs, making a more useful social application on the web. Samuel can be reached on twitter at @samuelclay and NewsBlur is also on twitter at @newsblur.

Techie Buzz (TB): What is NewsBlur?
Samuel Clay (SC): NewsBlur is a feed reader with intelligence. It tries to do two things very well:

  1. Shows you the original site instead of a context-less feed. Read the original and NewsBlur marks the stories you’ve read as read.
  2. Filter stories you either like or dislike. A three-stop slider goes between dislike, neutral, and like (red, yellow, and green). Training is super-easy and all click-based (as opposed to you having to writing out what you like in a site, NewsBlur asks you, semi-Hunch-style, your opinions on facets of the site).

I started working on NewsBlur to see if I could do it, put the AI together with the back-end feed processing and fetching, along with the nifty front-end of the original site. This is one of those projects where I just kept pushing in all directions until I felt I had something good, not knowing if I could do it at all, but believing the entire time that I was able to complete the project.

Intelligence Trainer Slider
Intelligence trainer slider

Google Reader and Docs Get an Update; ICS Styled UI and Swipe Gesture On-Board

Google has just rolled out an updated version of Google Reader and the Google Docs app for Android.


Like in the recently updated Google+ app, the blue UI colors in the Reader app has been replaced by a grey color. The visual changes of the Google Reader app is hardly visible though. The app’s UI has been redesigned keeping in mind Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich’s magazine style UI, and now features a swipe gesture to navigate left or right. There are also new ICS Styled widgets. Surprisingly, Google has also removed some features from the app, which are now offered by the Google+ app.

The Google Docs app has also received a similar makeover. The main screen of the app now looks pretty similar to the Google+ app. Like the Reader app, the swipe to navigate gesture is present in this app as well. New ICS styled and prettier looking widgets are also on-board.

Android users can download the new Google Reader app from here, and the Google Docs app from here.

Now that Google has updated three of its apps, its time to update the most important and most used app by the users – the GMail app.  The GMail app shown in the Galaxy Nexus announcement looked absolutely stunning, and I cannot wait to try it on my Galaxy S2.

Developer Interview: gReadie app developer Chris Sainty

gReadie screenshot

gReadie screenshot

This is the first in, hopefully what will become, a series of interview with independent developers. The goal is to profile developers building great apps (mobile, desktop, web) and hopefully get some honest answers about what works and what does not work being an independent developer.

Chris Sainty is an Australian software developer with over 10 years experience developing desktop and web applications for retail clients. An early and eager supporter of the direction Microsoft has taken with the Windows Phone 7 platform, Chris had an app in the marketplace and a phone in his hand at launch. A year later his app, gReadie, remains a popular choice for Google Reader users on Windows Phone 7.

Techie Buzz (TB): What is gReadie?

Chris Sainty (CS): gReadie is a Google Reader client for Windows Phone 7. In a highly competitive segment of the app marketplace, gReadie targets powerusers who follow a lot of feeds and need to quickly scan their feeds to find the posts of real importance. This is done by using a clean and simple UI, that is well tuned for finding the posts you want and then either reading them in-app or saving them to an external services (such as Read It Later, Instapaper etc.) for later follow up.

A sampling of gReadie’s settings

TB: What made you decide to write a gReader client and that too for an unknown platform?

CS: Prior to Windows Phone 7, I was using an iPhone 3GS. By far, my most used app on iOS was a Google Reader client. So I knew when switching to WP7, I was going to need an app to do the same. Having prior C# and Silverlight knowledge, I was very keen to write something for the WP7 platform. So it was a natural fit that my most used app should be my own.

It was a risk to invest so much effort into a new platform, and one that has not been financially rewarding yet. However, I believe things are just getting started for apps on Microsoft platforms and do not regret for a moment the experience gained from being an early mover on the platform.

TB: What technology/ies have been used in the making of gReadie? Any open source tech/libraries? Is the gReadie code open sourced?

CS: The current version of gReadie is using only two open source libraries ServiceStack.Text ( for JSON processing and the Silverlight Toolkit ( for a couple of UI elements. Though, I am very unhappy with the latest version of the Silverlight toolkit which broke every single control I was using without explanation or documentation. Previously gReadie has used many other libraries for various purposes, but these are the only two still in use. Internally gReadie is using the new SQL Compact support enabled in Mangowhich allows it to provide excellent offline reading capabilities even with thousands of posts downloaded.

Google Reader To Get A Refreshing Look And Easier Content Sharing With Google Plus Circles

After Google search, Google reader will soon get into the swag of Google Plus magic.

The search giant is preparing a complete design overhaul of Google Reader, one of the most popular online RSS reading hubs on the web. Google reader will follow the footsteps of Gmail, Google Maps, Blogger and other Google products which were recently redesigned on the idea that every Google product must work closely to push their latest gig Google Plus.

Google emphasizes on the social aspect by quoting the statement making Google reader more social in the coming days. Well, Google reader already has a semi-social feature labeled Follow peoplewhich is not used so widely. Shared items, bundles, friending other readers and following stories inside Google reader is possible but I doubt how many of us use them actually.

Google has decided to retire these features from Google reader and integrate Google Plus sharing activity right within Google Reader, so you can quickly share content with specific friends (read circles) over at Google Plus. If you don’t want to lose your starred items, likes, friends, subscriptions and shared stuff, you should export them from Google Reader settings as an OPML file. Google isn’t saying when the new Google Reader will be debuted but looking at the speed of overhauling their products, I think it should arrive within next week or so.


One Feature In Google Reader I am Dying To See

Keyword filter.

Save me, and save those thousands of news junkies out there!

Keyword filter in Google reader is the need of the hour. The web is already exploding with huge amount of information and following news sources becomes impossible after some time, thanks to 16 Bin Laden stories being published within 30 minutes. Most bloggers and reporters re-blog the samething, there should be a way to cut through the noise and filter items that I really want to read.

Example: The other day iPhone 4S came out and my Google reader was exploding with rehashed copies of the same story. iPhone 4S getting released, press release notes, specifications and so on. I don’t want to read it at all and there is no way I can filter items surrounding iPhone 4S and mark all of them as read. There is a handy Greasemonkey script for the same but it is just a workaround and not out of the box. An option to automatically ignore stories based on keywords will save more than 30 minutes of my reading time. Every single day!

Actually, I am more than happy that they are not hammering down the product, just like other Google services.

So You Want to Kick the Google Habit? [Editorial]



Google Everywhere

It is hard to go online today without touching one or more Google products or services. If it is not search, it may be email, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, Docs, or Calendar. Google has truly blanketed us with their web-based app offerings. Heck, even the Google Doodle is a conversation topic!

In this editorial, I shall discuss how you can kick the Google habit, what I am using now as alternatives and why you probably won’t be able to replace certain Google products today. Ready to move away from Google? First, some background.

Why un-Google?

Some of the reasons I personally decided to look for alternatives:

  • Google became a part of virtually everything I did online. I used GMail, Google Reader, Google Finance, Blogger, Picasa, Picasa Web, Google Docs, Google Search, Google Calendar and Google Maps. I felt uncomfortable putting such a large portion of my online life in Google’s hands.
  • Google morphed from the cool little startup building fun stuff for consumers, to a dominant public company whose revenues essentially came from just one product. That’s the key most (96%) of its revenues (and profits) came from search advertising. In other words, it needed other ways to make money. The most obvious way to do so would be to extend the arm of advertising, their main revenue-generating product, into other products. I realized I was the merchandise.
  • Google seemed to get Apple and Facebook envy. Apple was growing rapidly across all their product lines and at very high profit margins, and Facebook was taking eyeballs and key talent away from Google. This led to some bad attempts to mock Apple and Facebook publicly, which of course delighted the Google developer and enthusiast community but came off as being negative to me. If you make a great product, you don’t need a negative campaign.
  • Aside from philosophy, some of the competing products started becoming better, and Google’s products started getting worse (more on that within my descriptions) prompting me to start Project Un-Google which was an effort to use fewer and fewer Google products, hopefully reaching a point where I did not depend on any Google product at all.

Whether it is for philosophy, or hedging your web app bets, it is good to know there is life outside Google when it comes to products and services online and offline. There is usually a strong resistance to change, especially if you have a long history with a product. There is a high cost for transferring the old stuff, and learning your way around a new product/service. However, these challenges are not insurmountable, and I hope you take a look at some or all of the products I list here as an alternative to Google. If you have ideas of other products I may not have mentioned, please let me know!

Popular Google products

Here are some of the Google products/services I will be comparing to competition:

  • Search
  • Picasa
  • GMail
  • Calendar
  • Documents
  • Groups
  • Finance
  • Blogger
  • Chrome
  • Maps/Directions
  • Talk/Chat/Voice

I realize Google has many more products, appsand services, but I did not look at products like Book Search which are very niche. My attempt here is to look at the commonly used products and services only.

Google Maps and Reader for Android Updated; Minecraft Now Available For Xperia Play

Google has released updates for two of its popular apps for Android – Google Maps and Google Reader. The Google Maps update brings with it some welcomed changes, including custom transit notifications.

The bubble buttons, which had mysteriously disappeared in the previous update, have also made a comeback. The Transit support has also made its way to the tablet version of Google Maps. The latest update (v5.9) is already available for download from the Android Market.

The Google Reader app for Android has also been updated, and brings with it some much-needed improvements. Most importantly, the Google Reader app finally supports Honeycomb. The tablet layout of the app is similar to the mobile/tablet version of GReader website. The ‘Mark as read’ function has also been improved, and users can now mark an item as read by long pressing on it.

While this update definitely helps in improving the overall usability of the GReader app, it still does not stand a chance in front of the competition.

In other Android apps and games related news, the highly popular and insanely addictive game, Minecraft from Mojang is now available exclusively for the Xperia Play. At the time being, the game will remain exclusive to the Play. Hopefully, the game should be available to other touch screen based Android phones, sometime in the future. Sony Ericsson has also stated that a bunch of new games are soon going to be available for the Play, including Fifa 2012, Death Worm and EVAC HD. The whole list of games can be found  here.



Download Official Google Reader App for Android

Google has finally released an official app for . The Google Reader Android app supports multiple account, synching preferences, subscription features and search among other things.

Google Reader Android App Google Reader Android Send To

Google Reader for Android also allows users to change settings to allow using the volume keys for previous and next items in your list and also includes a "send" feature which integrates with other apps on your phone, so that you can quickly share items in , or .

You can download the new Google Reader Android app from the Android market or use the QR code below to quickly download it.