An image shows the new Digg Reader, built as an option to replace Google Reader. The RSS subscription service will be discontinued on July 1, Google says.
With just days remaining before Google pulls the plug on its Reader RSS feed service, reality is sinking in. And the market for free or low-cost replacements is growing, as Digg has rolled out its new reader in the past week. Other companies report a burst of new customers after Google's announcement that it would discontinue its RSS system on July 1.
Digg says that after it announced a plan to build its own reader program, more than 18,000 people signed up to give the company their opinion. According to Digg, its service will integrate with popular apps such as Pocket and Instapaper. The company is rolling out the new reader in phases, with full access promised by June 26. It plans more upgrades in the coming weeks, including an Android app.
Despite garnering more than 150,000 signatures, a Change.org petition to ask Google to keep Reader seems destined to fail. Users of the service commiserated on their pending loss in the comments section, with a top-rated comment simply stating, "It is the way I read the Internet." Others said they use it every day.
It seems that many Reader fans have migrated to Feedly, one of the options we highlighted back in March. Last week, Feedly said it had tripled its user base to 12 million accounts between March and June.
And Feedly also announced its Cloud feature, which helps Google Reader users incorporate their RSS subscriptions into a new Feedly account without going through the steps of saving and exporting/importing the information via Google's Takeout feature. It also means people can read their feeds across different devices and browsers.
One shortcoming of the readers from Feedly and Digg is their lack of a search tool. Both companies are reportedly working to add that feature.
Other options we discussed in March include NewsBlur, The Old Reader, and Netvibes. And as the web has become more image-oriented and tablet-centric, many people are also using Flipboard.
In withdrawing its Reader, Google gave two reasons for the move: Fewer people had been using the RSS platform, the company said, and it hopes to invest its resources in fewer products.