Ever since I started blogging, Google Reader has been my preferred application for reading web content and RSS feeds. Unfortunately, its not anymore; Google has decided to retire Google Reader from July 1st 2013. This is a sad news for Google Reader fans, as Reader has been the most popular RSS reader used by more than a billion users worldwide.
If you are looking for a web based Google Reader alternative, I would strongly suggest give Feedly a try. Feedly is a close counterpart of Google Reader and it nearly mimics every feature Google Reader has. If you are a power user of Google Reader, you just can’t afford to miss Feedly. I have used Bloglines, Flipboard, Newsgator and a couple of other online RSS readers but trust me, Feedly beats all of them.
If you have been using Feedly for a while, here are a few tips and tricks you should know:
Automatically Import Feeds From Google Reader To Feedly
If this is the first time you are using Feedly, you can choose to automatically export all your RSS subscriptions from Google Reader and import to Feedly. Feedly supports Google login, so it will auto-fetch all your RSS feeds from Google Reader and add it to your Feedly account. Your subscriptions folders will be exactly the same, Feedly does a good job mirroring all your Google Reader subscriptions without involving any manual work whatsoever.
You can always export your RSS subscriptions from Google Reader settings or the very useful Google Takeout service, but Feedly’s one click migration works perfect, you don’t have to download or upload anything.
Google Reader Starred Items = Feedly’s “Save For Later”
Google Reader has an awesome “starred items” feature which allows you to quickly bookmark an article for later refrence. Since I read a lot of RSS feeds on a regular basis, I don’t have time to read every single article in my reading list. I used “starred items” to quickly bookmark interesting stuff in my readin list, empty the queue and mark everything else as read.
Feedly doesn’t have a starred items feature but you will be happy to know that they have a “Save for later” feature which lets you bookmark articles on the fly. While scrolling through your reading list, you can quickly add items to your “saved for later” list and read them whenever you may want to.
The best part – all your Google Reader starred items are saved in Feedly’s “save for later” list, you don’t have to go back to your Google Reader account and backup starred items in Google Reader. It’s saved right under “Saved for later” in Feedly, just a different name.
When you read blog posts and articles in Feedly, hit the small flag icon to add it to your “saved for later” list.
Quickly Tweet Quoted Text From an article
If you’re as “news hungry” as I am and love to tweet, you will love this feature. Feedly lets you quickly tweet quoted text from an article, so you don’t have to copy a line from an article you are reading, go to the Twitter website and compose your tweet. Selecting a text opens up a drop-down menu and you can choose to tweet it, without having to leave Feedly.
This is great, when you are on a tweeting spree and want to share articles with Twitter friends as quickly and as seamlessly as possible. Love this!
Reading History Tells You Which Articles You have read recently
Feedly has another useful feature which is not present in Google Reader – Reading history. Feedly keeps a log of all the articles you have been reading recently, you can access your reading history from the Sidebar. It would have been even better if there were options to filter articles I have read today, this week, this month but they aren’t
Set “Titles Only” as your Default View For Quick Reading
Feedly has different options to show news articles and blog posts e.g Titles, magazines, mosaic, timeline, cards and full view. You can customize the view of each category and folder and choose to have a different view for each RSS feed or category folder.
However, if you prefer the “Title only” view in Google Reader (which is best suited for speed reading), you can customize all your feeds to show only the titles of blog posts in Feedly. To do this, go to Feedly > Preferences and choose the default view as “Titles only – Google Reader”.
Drag and Drop to Organize Feeds Into Folders
Organizing feeds into different folders is super easy, all you need to do is hit the “Organize” link, drag subscriptions and drop them into their target folder. This feature is not available in Google Reader, it was a real pain moving feeds from one folder to another and then ensuring that we do not end up having duplicate feeds in different folders. Feedly makes RSS organization a cakewalk.
See the entire index of all your feeds – Quickly locate a particular source
Hit the “Index” link at the bottom right corner and you get a index page which contains all your Feeds, neatly organized into the folders they have been categorized into. From this page, you get a 360 view of all the sources you have subscribed in Feedly or Google Reader and you can quickly find a feed item or a website from the index page.
Pretty handy, when you want to see your entire reading list on one page.
See what your Facebook friends are reading in Feedly
Go to Feedly preferences and select the option – “Include a Facebook newsfeed module on the homepage”. Next, connect your Facebook account with feedly and you would be able to see what your Facebook friends have been reading in Feedly off late. The news feed will be shown in the right sidebar of your Feedly homepage.
Disclaimer: I couldn’t see any stories under the Facebook news feed of my Feedly account. I don’t know the exact reason, maybe none of my Facebook friends are active Feedly users yet.
Tweet From Feedly
If you live inside your RSS reader and wondered whether you can post tweets directly from your RSS reader or share articles with Facebook friends, Feedly won’t disappoint you. Simply connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts with your Feedly account and you are ready to go.
To post tweets from Feedly, Simply hit the “Tweet” button in the sidebar and you can compose and post your tweet on Twitter, without having to leave Feedly at all.
Similarly, you can share news stories on Twitter and Facebook directly from Feedly. You can either use the integrated Buffer app in Feedly for automatically sharing feed items on Facebook or Twitter. Otherwise, simply hit the corresponding sharing icons and you can share an article in your Facbook and Twitter accounts, as you read articles in Feedly. Feedly uses it own URL shortening service, so you don’t have to shorten links or count characters.
Search Stories by keywords or topic
Sometimes, it becomes necessary to filter all stories that are revolving around a specific topic. You may want to apply keyword specific filters in Feedly to quickly sort out all stories about a recent news topic.
To do this, hit the tiny “Search” button at the right corner of the page, enter your keyword or phrase and hit “Enter”. You will be able to see articles that match your filter.
Feedly makes it easy for you to repeat the same search in Google, Google News and YouTube. Moreover, Feedly does a nice job showing you suggestions on blogs alreasy present in your reading list that have good information on the keyword you have searched for. Highly useful when you are on the “research” mode and want to dig out more information around a subject.
I am not the conventional keyboard person, but if you can’t do without keyboard shortcuts, hit ? and you will see a list of keyboard shortcuts Feedly supports.
Similar to Google Reader, Feedly lets you tag blog posts and entries. You can add custom tags to any item and group specific articles into one or more tags. This helps in categorizing specific posts and makes them quickly accessible from the tag links listed in the Feedly sidebar.
Mobile Apps, Tools and Browser Extensions
Here are a list of tools, mobile apps and browser extensions which makes Feedly even better
- Feedly for Android
- Feedly for iOS (iPhone and iPad)
- Feedly for Google Chrome
- Feedly for Firefox
- Feedly for Safari
- The Readly userscipt makes Feedly look like Google Reader.
What are your favorite Feedly tips, tricks and hacks? Share your tips in the comments below.