Google Reader vs Reeder

Google just announced that they’re shutting down Google Reader. We’ve just put together the tips you need to move away from Google Reader, and the apps you should try now for subscribing to RSS feeds. Be sure to check it out!

Google Reader is one of the predominant RSS subscription apps and, for the few phases of RSS use I’ve encountered, I’ve used it. Google’s product is stellar and offers a great selection of features, but there’s always room for improvement. Unfortunately, today on the web, it’s one of the only apps designed just for reading RSS feeds.

Developers have taken Google Reader and used it to power a number of third party apps, one of them being Reeder. Reeder is one of the most popular Google Reader clients, available on iPhone, iPad and Mac. In this article, we’re not going to compare two web apps, but rather take a look at how the experience of Google Reader on the web differs from Reeder’s range of native apps.

User Interface

During Google’s somewhat recent wave of redesigning, Reader got a visual update that brings a more minimalist design with the use of a strong red accent colour. This is a significant improvement over what used to be on offer from Google, and is definitely not bad. From a design perspective, I think it’s a pretty nice, although certainly not perfect.

Reeder has a slightly different spin on it’s own user interface. While both apps are laid out in pretty much the same way, Reeder takes the edge by dedicating more space to the content itself, rather than a ton of buttons and controls.

Google Reader

On Mac OS X, Reeder takes a three column approach. The first allows the user to easily switch between viewing all items, or just one’s from a specific RSS subscription. Therefore, it’s pretty simple to just read one specific site, instead of all your subscriptions in an aggregated view. The second column allows you switch between stories, with the title and a short extract shown and, finally, the third column shows the content itself. The same can be said for Reeder for iPad, which has a very similar setup.

On iPhone, it’s essentially the same but, instead of having three columns, what would be a column on OS X or iPad is a page so one chooses all items or a specific site then a specific piece of content then they can read.

In Reeder for iPhone, you can also easily switch between organising by time or by subscription in the all items view which is useful if you have subscriptions covering multiple area. For example, if you were subscribed to all the AppStorm sites, you’d be able to read through all the iPhone posts, then the Android ones, etc or just view them in the order they were published.

Winner: Reeder

Reeder for Mac OS X

Functionality

Insanely little has to be said about this. One is the service, the other is a client of said service. They both share the same set of features.

Winner: Tie

Responsiveness

Few of us just read content on one platform. It’s incredibly likely you’ve got a smartphone and, quite possibly, a tablet that you want to consume your RSS subscriptions on. Lucky for Google Reader users, there’s a number of responsive ways to consume RSS subscriptions.

Google Reader of course works fantastic in a desktop browser, as you’d expect it to being a website. There’s very little extra to say here. When you open up the site on your smartphone, you’ll receive Google’s mobile version, which is a cut down edition of the regular website. It works so it shouldn’t be massively criticised, but it doesn’t appear to be feature-packed as Reeder for iPhone. Reeder for iPhone packs the same set of features as the app does on Mac OS X or iPad, and its design makes it insanely easy to download and have an instant knowledge of how to use the app.

Reeder for iPad

Even though Google is one of the main players in the tablet landscape, heading to Google Reader on a tablet will get you to just their mobile website, not any kind of tablet design. You can, however, head down to the bottom of the page and switch to the desktop site if wanted which is the more favourable option. However, Reeder actually has an iPad app that gives you a real tablet experience, instead of something that’s tailored to either desktop or mobile. Therefore, for the better tablet and mobile version, Reeder wins here.

Winner: Reeder

Value for Money

Value for money is a pretty easy metric. Google Reader is free, whereas Reeder costs per platform. It’s $9.99 for Mac OS X, $2.99 for iPhone and $4.99 for iPad. So, in order to get it on all platforms, you’ll be out of pocket my nearly $18.

Winner: Google Reader

Winner: Reeder

Reeder’s better in a lot of departments over the standard Google Reader, including user interface and responsiveness. However, it comes at a nearly $18 premium over Google Reader which is a factor that is vital to consider. If you’re not willing to pay, Google’s web apps is a stellar option, but the native alternative wins in this case, if you’ve the cash to spend.

Best of all, if you’re a Google Reader user that would like a bit of Reeder’s style, there’s an unofficial extension for the online Google Reader that makes it look pretty close. Not quite the same, and still won’t help you on a tablet, but it’s pretty nice for PC users in a native browser.

Google just announced that they’re shutting down Google Reader. We’ve just put together the tips you need to move away from Google Reader, and the apps you should try now for subscribing to RSS feeds. Be sure to check it out!


  • munchkin

    last design update of google reader made me switch to reeder (after years of using google reader). google reader’s interface is awful and very un-ergonomic.

  • Robert

    Pretty weak review. For example, what about keyboard shortcuts? They’re very important in helping you to get through a lot of articles in a short amount of time, yet there was no mention of them. Also, how easily do they let you go to the actual article? Again, not a lot of information. I could have written this article in my sleep.

  • http://twitter.com/skorecky Stephen Korecky

    ” However, it comes at a nearly $18 premium over Google Reader which is a factor that is vital to consider.”

    It’s strange that a lot of people can spend $18 on coffee and a snack at Starbucks every morning but when it comes to someone’s hard work and countless hours spent developing an applications and updating it all the time at no additional cost, and yet $18 is somehow too much.

    We shouldn’t be so fixated on what developers are charging, chances are it’s not enough anyways. There is so much pressure to be the cheapest app or even a free app in the app store.

    They’re just trying to make a living at what they do, let’s help em get there.

    (Note: I don’t mean to pick on this article, it’s just a prime example of what gets said all the time)

  • Caetano Brasil

    On iPhone and Mac I prefer NewsRack instead of Reeder. Why?
    Because Reeder is just for people who follows text feeds. Reeder is not for image hunters like me. There are no previews on stories column (2° column) so I can’t preview the most part of stories published, I need to access stories one by one, to know what it is about.
    I’m a designer and I have dozens of feeds just about design, illustrations, art.
    So, for me, Reeder is useless.

  • http://robertosimoes.net Roberto

    I always tag important articles, Reeder don’t suppot them. That’s why I don’t spend $18…
    Nobody else uses Google Reader’s tags?

  • http://rayvellest.com Ray Vellest

    I’ve been checking out and comparing many RSS feed applications with the intent of finding a Mac based interface for Google Reader, and Reeder almost got it. Unfortunately, Reeder fails in showing complete feeds with images, which I couldn’t live without it, so perhaps on a next update?

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