10 days with The Old Reader

For the past few years Google Reader has been my homepage, and my most used website. So when the news came out that Google was shutting it down, it obviously came as a bit of a blow to me. So for a bit over a week, I have instead been using The Old Reader.

The Old Reader has some disadvantages (and also some advantages) over Google Reader, but despite the differences I now plan on continuing to use the site full time as my primary RSS application.


For the most part The Old Reader works the same as Google Reader did (at least for my use cases). I have a centralized listing of all my RSS feeds at theoldreader.com/posts/all (which is set as my homepage). I can then freely scroll through the expanded feeds with each one automatically getting marked as read.

There is one neat features that Google Reader did not have. You can opt to view your feeds in a “Reverse” view which instead shows the earliest feeds first, instead of the most recent. I find this useful especially when blogs post a reaction to another blog in my feed, so that the order in which I read the news actually makes logical sense.

There are also some downsides to The Old Reader as well. For one there is no way to minimize the menu on the left side. I almost never adjust anything here, and would rather devote more screen space to the actual content of the feeds. The persistence of this menu also makes using this site less then ideal on phones (although tablets are fine). Currently there is not an API available, but should that change there is a high probability of me writing apps for BlackBerry 10 and Windows 8.

The other issue that I have run into is that the feeds don’t always seem to refresh as quickly as they did with Google Reader.

Still, the team is continuing to work on this site, and improving it all the time. The site has seen tremendous growth the past few months, and is likely to see even more this summer when Reader gets shut down for good. Seeing as the team is actually dedicated to improving the project, there is hope that these issues will be addressed in the future. Meanwhile the future for Google Reader has already been written.