In which (I hope) I found the right Google Reader replacement

Aside from Google Search and Gmail, Google Reader is the only other Google product that I use regularly. I check Google Calendar from time to time, I have lots of documents in Google Drive and some photos in Picasa Web, but I don’t use them as much as I use Google Reader. I check Google Reader when I’m on my way to and from the office, or whenever I’m alone and on the go. I use Google Reader during my idle moments when I’m at home. This morning, I was shocked to read from my Google Reader Android app that Google is Powering Down Google Reader. How ironic was that?

I use Google Reader to keep up with my 145 subscriptions, which includes personal blogs, web comics, programming, finance, gaming, sports, and start-ups. Since May 31, 2007 I have read a total of 127,223 items. And that’s not even a lot considering I know someone who has read more than 300,000+ items starting 2010.

Perhaps, my sentiments regarding this issue can be best summarized in this video:

so wouldn’t discuss more about that. Instead, here’s a brief summary of how I immediately looked for a Google Reader replacement after reading the sad news.

There are a couple of things I need from an RSS Reader that Google Reader has and it will be difficult to transition to something that offers half the features. So I’ve setup a list of required features I need for the replacement:

  • Should be accessible via the web (Duh!)
  • Should have a dedicated Android app. One of the reasons why I acquired a Galaxy Nexus last year was so I can read my Google Reader items while on the go
  • Should allow seemless exporting of Google Reader subscriptions, including archived posts, Starred items and Folders
  • Should allow signing-in using Google accounts
  • Should allow social sharing

Optional features:

  • Web UX/UI similar to Google Reader
  • Shotcut keys similar to Google Reader
  • Android app UI similar to Google Reader Android app

Based on the suggestions from Quora, I will be looking at NewsBlurThe Old Reader, Rolio, Netvibes, Feedly, SwarmIQ, Good Noows, and Skim.Me.

Newsblur

Has an option to “Import from Google Reader”. But as of this writing, it’s taking Newsblur years to import my Google Reader contents. I’m not even sure if it already encountered and error but still shows the bouncing loading gif. Perhaps because all other migrants are doing the same. It goes to show that the site isn’t ready to accommodate lots of users.

The Old Reader

Has an option to log in using a Google Account. But when I clicked the Import link, it gave me this message:

Hey! Because of the huge load we started seeing from lots of concurrent feed import operations, we had to limit the number of imports active at any given time. It looks like right now there are no available slots left, so you might want to visit this page some time later. Meanwhile, feel free to subscribe to feeds manually.
Please accept our apologies for this inconvenience.

Rolio

It required me to provide a username and password. End of story.

Netvibes

Requires users to pay $499/month just to enable tagging and searching. Err…

SwarmIQ

Skipped this when I noticed that the one who posted this on Quora was part of the SwarmIQ team. I’d rather spend my time evaluating something others have actually tried and didn’t self-promote.

Good Noows

It allowed me to sign-in using my Google Account, but I was turned off by the magazine-style layout and didn’t immediately present a way for me to import my Google Reader stuff.

Skim.Me

The site still requires an invitation and requests to manage my YouTube account, contacts, calendars, and perform those operations when I’m not using the application. Totally unnecessary.

The Winner: Feedly

It doesn’t have the exact UI of Google Reader, but the layout is pretty much the same. The UX is almost identical. Some of the shortcut keys even work (at least those that I’ve tried). Their Android app also looks usable. Currently, the data they show is still coming from Google Reader, but the good news is that they have a plan to seamlessly transition to their own back end. Since there’s really no other decent alternative, I’m giving Feedly a go.

P.S. I’m still hoping Google with take their announcement back and realize the huge mistake they’re going to make by shutting down Google Reader.

Note: This post will be updated in case I find a better Google Reader alternative.

GTUGPH-SG Meet-up: Offline Web Applications

Last night A few hours ago, I attended the third GTUG-PH-SG (Google Technology Users Group for Filipinos in Singapore) meet-up. It was the first meet-up of the group where someone actually presented something since the first two meet-ups were spent on planning the goals and activities for the group.

Dan Cedric Delima of Google Japan talked about Offline Web Applications. He cited examples when offline web applications are useful; walked us through his project where he used HTML5 for persistent local storage, Application Cache for making web applications accessible offline, djangoappengine for running Django-nonrel on App Engine, Channels API which creates a persistent connection between your application and Google servers, allowing your application to send messages to JavaScript clients in real time without the use of polling., MediaGenerator for combining and compressing JavaScript and CSS files, and of course, App Engine for the hassle/worry-free deployment of web applications.

The talk itself was already informative since it included some useful stuff that I haven’t utilized on my existing projects yet. The best part, in my opinion, was the part where he shared about his experiences wherein he mentioned some of the possible challenges that developers who are new to such goodness will most probably encounter, and how he dealt with those things, which gave me valuable insights on what to prepare for when I already apply them in my own projects.

I think it was a successful meet-up (even though we didn’t get any Chromebooks =p). There were more attendees than I expected, considering it was the first meet-up with a presentation and the group being relatively new. I also learned a bunch of new stuff, which I’m already itching to explore.

Here’s the link to Dan’s presentation: Offline Web Applications: Creating more interactive web applications.

Attendees (see picture; left to right): Randell, JJ, Marc, Jill, Elvin, Dan, Raphael, Karl, Jonathan, Nikki.

Update 20110609-0836: Even though we didn’t get any Chromebooks, some of us got Google Notebooks!

Google Notebook

Google Notebook

Check out the GTUGPH-SG Blog and Google Group for more info.

Google DevFest 2010 Manila

And so I attended Google DevFest 2010 Manila 2 weeks ago (which makes this a really really late post).

DevFest events are a great opportunity to learn more about Google technologies and developer products. The events also give you a chance to meet developer advocates and engineers who work on those products and ask them any questions you might have

It wasn’t really held in Manila, but in TechnoHub, Commonwealth Avenue, UP Campus, Quezon City. It was my first time to attend an event in Technohub and also my first time to drive all the way to Quezon City.

I arrived a couple minutes late at Techportal. Perhaps it was a good thing because I didn’t have to join the hundreds of people during the registration. My estimate is that there were more than 300 developers who attended the event. I can only imagine that it was very crowded and I would’ve had to fall in a long line. I hate falling in long lines.  I missed the opening remarks and Maps API was already being discussed when I settled in my seat at the back of the conference room.

One of the highlights of the event was HTML5, which received a lot of oohs and aahs from the delighted developers. If I remember it correctly, the next part was about the Social APIs, but what caught my attention was PubSubHubbub and Salmon. PubSubHubbub provides servers near-instant notifications when a feed URL is updated. Salmon allows comments to be posted back “upstream” to its original sources. Check out the links for more info.

During the networking lunch, I was able to meet the top NullPointer.ph user, datenshi. Good thing I was wearing my NullPointer.ph shirt, so he easily recognized me and Nikki.

During the apps and demos part, the Google Devs talked about the Apps Markeplace and several volunteers gave demos about their projects that use Google technologies, including Nikki who presented the NullPointer.ph Job Board which is running on Google App Engine. The Code Labs was halted because of the poor internet connection in the conference room. It was difficult for everyone to finish the sample project when it was using the Maps API.

Google DevFest 2010 Manila

Google DevFest 2010 Manila

All in all, I think it was the best Google event I’ve attended. I’m already looking forward for the next one! Here are the relevant links from the presentations:

App Engine

HTML5

Buzz

Maps

Here are some links from those who attended the event:

Don’t forget to keep yourself updated with other GTUG PH events by checking out the following links:

April Fools on the web

Here are the top five April Fools links I collected from yesterday:

Were you fooled by something else?

Today is Google’s 9th Birthday

If you’ll check out Google’s homepage today, September 28, 2007, you’ll see this:

Google’s 9th Birthday

Hovering the mouse pointer over the image, it says Google’s 9th Birthday.

I was curious whether today really is Google’s birthday so I searched Google from Wikipedia. I was surprised to see that Google was actually founded on September 7, 1998, and not September 28! So I googled Googles birthday and found this page.

Happy 9th birthday Google! And may the search be with you. :p