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28 Days Later: Google Reader Shutdown, RSS Readers Explained

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By William Peacock, Esq. on June 03, 2013 12:09 PM

Earlier this year, Google announced that its once-popular Reader, which acted as an aggregator for users' favorite blog feeds, was going to be retired as of July 1. Some pulled at their hair in frustration and dressed in black. Others lit a candle and prayed for a last-minute stay of execution.

With 28 days to go, there has been no stay. The life of Google Reader appears destined to end, and for those of you in a long-term relationship with the RSS feed reader, it's time to move on.

If you haven't tried an RSS feed reader, maybe now is the time to do so. Since the announcement earlier this year, dozens of new and improved alternative readers, hoping to steal Google's market share, have launched. A once Google-dominated and dormant field is now immensely competitive.

What's an RSS Reader?

Ever see this little orange box on your favorite blogs and websites?

RSS icon

If you click the box, and have a reader installed, it'll add that feed to your reader.

The reader displays titles and blurbs of text from each story on each feed. This saves you from clicking the bookmarks for your favorite blogs every day, sifting through ads, useless stories, and more ads. Instead, you can skim through blurbs at high speed, only clicking through to the full stories that you find interesting.

Which RSS Reader Is Best?

That's definitely a matter of opinion, but after never using an RSS reader (I was a bookmarker), I tried Feedly, which seemed to be the most-recommended Google Reader alternative. So far, it's absolutely great. Adding feeds is easy. Finding new feeds is even easier. It even pulls in your old feeds from your Google Account, making switching seamless.

Other features include plug-ins for Firefox, Chrome, and Opera that make those orange boxes automatically integrate with Feedly. Click box. Have feed. It's as simple as that. You can also add your Twitter and Facebook feeds, saving you from having to visit two more sites. There are Android and iOS apps available as well.

Who can't use Feedly? As of now, anyone who uses Internet Explorer, or who can't install the Feedly plug-in to their browser (i.e., heavily restricted work computers), is out of luck. However, a web-only version, which is plug-in free, is supposedly on the way.

Besides Feedly, we're big fans of Flipboard for reading RSS feeds on a tablet or phone. It takes RSS feeds and turns them into a digital magazine that you can quickly flip through. It also has curated feeds by topic (tech, fashion, etc.) and user-created magazines (pictures of your aunt's farm).

Does FindLaw Have RSS Feeds?

But, of course! If you are a FindLaw fan, there are two ways to find us. In either Feedly or Flipboard, a simple search for FindLaw turns up our RSS feeds. Otherwise, you can go to our blog index, find the blogs you like (all of 'em, of course), and click the RSS icon for each one.

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