I’ve been testing a lot of Google Reader replacements ever since Google announced it was sun-setting the application. One thing is clear: Reader was damn good; it’s a shame it didn’t fit in Google’s business plan; and, it will be missed greatly.
All of the replacement services I tested suffer from one glaring deficiency — speed. Reader was instant when switching feeds, having them update, etc. There’s a lag to most Reader replacement services that probably results from not having Google’s infrastructure or engineering teams.
Once you get over that reality, there are some nice services out there. The three services I settled around for a final evaluation ended up being NewsBlur, Feedbin.me, and Old Reader. I was happy to pay them my money, but Old Reader happens to be free and also happens to be the service I have opted for for the time being. I’m assuming I’ll try whatever tool the Betaworks team releases.
I really like NewsBlur, as functionally it does everything I want and need it to do. Feedbin was impeccably designed but it suffered from performance issues and limited features that I couldn’t customize. Old Reader is basically a better designed, but slower, version of Google Reader.
In the end, Old Reader won out over NewsBlur simply because it’s free, looks nicer, and feels more familiar to my experience with Google Reader. But, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either of those three services.