Using an RSS reader is a great way to gather all the news and blogs you frequently read into one neat, tidy, place. With a minimum of effort you can sign up to a free service, select the various websites you want to follow, then the program will automatically search for new posts on a regular basis, and collect them together for your reading pleasure - no need to visit ten sites each morning, let the reader do that for you instead.
Until recently, most people's favourite RSS client was Google Reader, which also acted as the back end for many other services. The problem is that Google will stop Reader on July 1st 2013.
If you are currently using the service, or had planned to, now is the time to find an alternative RSS reader. There are quite a few available, covering a range of operating systems and mobile platforms. Many people have already signed up to Flipboard, which is a beautifully designed, magazine-style mobile app for iOS and Android, that can incorporate news and links from your social media streams as well as the normal RSS feeds.
Google also offers a mobile client in the form of Google Currents, which presents your news feeds in a very similar way to Flipboard.
If you prefer to read your news on a PC, or simply want to sync your feeds across all your devices, there are a few other services worth your attention.
Pulse is an excellent option, especially on mobile, and offers you the choice of attaching your account to Facebook so you can share any interesting stories that you find with your friends online. The visual heavy design can be a bit distracting at times, with so many boxes vying for your attention, but if you don’t mind that, then Pulse is a robust and easy to use site.
The RSS reader that seems to have gained the most from Google Reader’s demise is Feedly, which recently announced that more than 3 million people have switched to the service from Reader. Presumably one of the main reasons for this is ability to transfer your existing feeds over to Feedly, alongside the site's simple, clean design.
Feedly also offers Android, iOS, web and Kindle versions, which should just about cover everyone. Here we’ll look at how to set up the web application, import any existing Google Reader feeds you might have, and add some new ones to your must-read list.
First download the browser app. Navigate to the Feedly site (www.feedly.com) in your favourite web browser and click on the 'Get Feedly' button. We’ll be using Chrome for the purposes of this tutorial.
Once Feedly is installed you need to set up an account. You’ll see that on the front page there are a few different options. If you don’t have a Google Reader account to transfer then skip to Step 5.
Transferring an existing Google Reader account is simply a case of choosing the 'Connect to Google Reader' button. This prompts a pop-up box asking for permission to access Reader data (as long as you’re logged into your Google account). Then click the Allow Access button.
Now your Google Reader feeds are all synced up and today’s posts are displayed in the main body of the page. Feedly has said that it is updating the back end so that when Google Reader stops your feeds should continue seamlessly.
If you want to set up a new account click the Start button at the top right of the Start menu screen. This gives you a pop-up box with various topics. Click on a subject you like and popular feeds will be listed.
Select a feed by clicking on the plus sign to the right of the list and you’ll see another pop-up box that offers you the choice to either sign up with your Google account or create a new one.
Once the account is created you’ll see another pop-up box featuring the news feed you clicked on inside. To organise your feeds, create a new category by pressing the plus sign, name it, then click 'Add' at the bottom of the box.
Now you’ll see the normal front page of your Feedly reader. Here is where all the news feeds will arrive and be displayed. Click an article to read it, then click Mark as Read to remove it from the list.
If you wish to navigate by category, add new feeds, or change your preferences, then use the column on the left which, depending on your screen size, will either be constantly displayed or accessible by clicking on the three grey lines symbol.