Historically, Google has always been a great place to pick up some free goodies to play around with. There was always an abundance of services like Knol to investigate. Google Wave was fascinating, and of course Google Zeitgeist had plenty to offer. If you were into social networks Google Buzz was a lot of fun, as was Google Answers. But the fact is, Google has streamlined its services considerably over recent years and these days seems intent on axing anything that doesn't turn a profit. In fact over 35% of all Google services have hit the dust, including Google Reader.
For many, Google Reader was a ubiquitous aspect of the Internet. It was a tool a generation had grown to love and use, not for its novelty value, but for its superb functionality. Google Reader was a content application second to none. It was the primary platform for collecting RSS feeds and serving news and information to people. On July 1, 2013, much to many people's dismay and bemusement, Google pulled the plug on Google Reader.
Despite the complaints on forums and social networks, Google remained steadfast amidst a sea of controversy regarding their decision. The move also led to a massive scrum with a vast range of alternatives vying to take up the visitors Google Reader had enjoyed. Here then, in no particular order, are some of the best mobile news reader applications, all on the Android platform.
Feedly is recognized as being the best news reader out there. It offers an easily customizable interface and you can use Feedly to sync items via Andorid mobile phones and a range of tablet devices. You can choose from a range of views including a full article perspective, or you can look at news stories as "cards", making it easy to choose the exact item you want read. Alternatively you can view a news item as you would a magazine, or as a list of headlines with some introductory text - just like Google Reader did. If you want to save an item you can do so - the item is also synced to your Feedly Cloud account where it can be retrieved at a later date. Easily share items between Facebook and other popular social networks. When Google Reader closed the buzz was this was the best alternative, and it hasn't let many people down, beyond perhaps there doesn't appear to be any offline support.
No doubt about it, Flipboard is sweet. Launched in 2010 it created quite a stir when it was launched. Flipboard pulls in images and text and puts them together in a magazine format that is at once engaging and practical.
The interface allows you to add your favorite sites and early adopters could sync their Google Reader feeds straight into Flipboard. The interface also allows you to pull in social network content (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.). This is not a classic RSS reader and it might disappoint people looking for that classic element. In addition, Flipboard is a bit liberal on the content it generates, so if you are the sort of person who only wants to see the content you choose to see, Flipboard might introduce a few too many random elements for your liking. Absolutely free, and it couldn't be better value.
Press is not free - it costs $3 from the Google Play store, but it's a great investment. The good thing about it is you can sync Press with your Feedly Cloud account, so if you have both on your phone this is a double whammy. I should point out though that you don't need to have Feedly on your phone for Press to sync with Feedly Cloud - it works entirely independently of a Feedly app. This is far from the classic RSS reader. Press has a spot on interface that shows exactly how many unread feeds its harboring. You can also use Press to view your favorite YouTube videos. Lots of options, highly customizable and a very intuitive interface - $3 well spent.
Taptu bills itself as "social news reader" and it's focus is on pulling in content from a range of venues - blogs, social networks, websites... In fact anything digital. What it does then is turn the content into a visual stream that offers a very attractive presentation. The app's StreamStudio allows you to personalize these streams, meaning you get to pull in exactly the type of content you desire. You can save news items as bookmarks and streams are accessible across a range of devices, including mobile phones and tablets. Taptu goes by the tagline "DJ your News" and there is a strong sense that you are mixing the delivery of potentially thousands of news sources into a format that is entirely unique to you and your phone. Free installation, and again, another app that is going to brighten up your mobile Android device, as well as your day!
Another free app and another good choice! Pulse offers a range of categories and sites from which to choose content from, and it also allows you to customize categories so you pull in the exact content you require. Using Pulse requires that you have a "Pulse.me" account because content is synced to Pulse.me for future retrieval. You can also save articles for reading when you don't have an Internet connection, but in these days of wifi everywhere, I am not sure to what extent that is a benefit. Again, excellent presentation and an excellent News Reader.