With a heavy heart, I moved off Google Reader

Those who follow me on Twitter probably noticed when I freaked out in March when Google announced they were shutting down Google Reader. I’ve been using the RSS aggregator for nearly 7 years. I have thousands of saved (starred) and shared items in it. At times, I was following over 300 blogs and websites with it. It was the best RSS reader I’d seen. And sadly, I haven’t found anything perfectly suited to replace it.

But here’s what I did:

On the advice of this article, I got a Pinboard account. Pinboard is essentially a social bookmark application. I exported all my reader items through Google Takeout. This gives me a folder with a bunch of JSON files. Pinboard has an import function that will allow a user to upload the shared and starred files from Google Reader. My files were too large to import so on the advice of Pinboard’s creator (I emailed support and he responded almost immediately), I gzipped the files and tried again. That worked.

So all my old starred and shared items from Reader are now in Pinboard as bookmarks. Then I switched over to Feedly for my reader. I have the app on my Android phone and tablet and the extension on Chrome. So far, I’m not impressed. I don’t really like the interface. I don’t intuitively understand it. It shows only short excerpts that, when clicked, open the original article in a frame. I would prefer a way to read the full text sent out in the RSS feed or a way to jump out of Feedly to the article. Delivering the full source webpage within the Feedly skin is not a good user experience.

While it’s not a perfect solution, it’s a solution and I won’t worry that years of saving links in Reader have been lost.