June 24, 2013
AOL App Will Take Over Where Google Reader Leaves Off
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
In less than a week, Google’s popular and long-loved Reader RSS aggregation service will finally be terminated.
Though much of Google’s competition rushed to fill the space left by Reader when the news was first announced in March, two stories emerged last weekend about Reader-like alternatives from other tech giants: Facebook and AOL.
The latter of the two released a service called “AOL Reader” in beta today, inviting the last of the Google Reader holdouts to import their RSS feeds to the new service. The service exists only as a website at the moment, though AOL says an Android and iOS app are forthcoming.
The beta version of AOL Reader allows users to sign in with their AOL, Facebook, Google or Twitter accounts, though everyone must line up in a queue to get access to the beta. According to a review from The Verge, AOL Reader is a fast offering which looks and operates like every other RSS aggregator.
Though there’s no specific option for Google Reader castaways to bring their entire libraries over to AOL Reader as there are in other alternatives, AOL does allow new users to search for their subscriptions or import them via standard OPML file.
The Verge review hails AOL Reader’s speed as the number one feature thus far. The site also says long time Google fans should be able to get comfortable with the service quickly as it utilizes some of the same shortcuts and design cues.
Like other alternatives, AOL’s new reader can be customized to tailor a specific approach towards reading. It also lets users star and tag their articles for better searching after the piece has been read. AOL is opening up the API to developers while the reader is in beta, allowing them to write their own desktop, mobile and web apps that utilize the aggregator.
Like many other new services in the early hours of the launch, AOL Reader is being slowly rolled out to users so as to not overload servers or stress the infant offering. While AOL’s Reader alternative is operational, there are still several features which are missing, including support for OPML export, search and sharing within AOL reader, though the company says these features are “coming soon.”
With only a few days left for those Google holdouts to make their final leap from the burning ship of Reader, those alternatives that weren’t among the first to the scene in March are now beginning to offer their services.
Popular site Digg, for instance, announced three months ago that they’d be jumping into the RSS fray but have only just released a beta version of this service.
Last week rumors began to emerge about a possible RSS reader from social site Facebook that was to be announced during a press event on June 20. The invitation, which specifically mentioned a small team, a big product, and a discussion over coffee, led many to believe a reader was on the way.
Instagram announced its video service instead, but rumors of a Facebook reader are still alive. The Wall Street Journal wrote a report this weekend that Facebook is, in fact working on a mobile news reader, but it’s not known if or when they’ll ever release it.