When Google announced that they were going to permanently shutter Google Reader, I wasn’t sure where to go. Well, that is, after the initial shock. Why, Google? Anyway, I went through and tried a bunch of different replacement services and none really felt right. So, I found a better option. Here’s how you can do it too.
If you’ve never used Pocket before on your smartphone, you’re missing out. It transforms irregular and often not-optimized for mobile articles and general webpages into something resembling newspaper text. It’s fantastic. I use it constantly with the Twitter app. Somebody posts an article, I share it to Pocket, and read it later (which is what Pocket was originally named). Better yet, if you run into paywall problems (some local papers here only allow X articles accessed per month), it can still get the content. Even if you decide not to use the advice in this short article, I strongly recommend Pocket.
If This, Then That (IFTTT.com) is a web app that allows one to create simple rules that, when triggered, perform an action. Much further of an explanation is outside the scope of my article here, but if you’re interested in really making some cool things happen, here is a good place to start. The jist is that the trigger is a new post within the RSS feed, and the action is adding that post to Pocket. Here is a link to the recipe (that’s what IFTTT calls them) that I’ve publicly shared as an example.
A few notes; First, adding a new rss feed is not as simple as it is in other readers. You have to make a new rule and action, which isn’t really all that much of a hassle, but isn’t quick. On the other hand, you have a whole world of options now that can generate a new item to read within pocket. Got a page that doesn’t have an RSS link? Try http://page2rss.com/. Only want to add feed items that match a specific string? IFTTT allows that too.
The bottom line is that when you use these services together, you can get not only a much more readable news source, but one that is much more intelligently packaged.