AOL Reader

New RSS reader hopes to scoop up Google Reader refugees — no mobile apps yet though

As promised last week, starting today you can request an invite to the new AOL Reader, the internet giant's entry into the world of RSS. A week ahead of the planned Google Reader shutdown date, AOL's hoping to scoop up new user accounts by targeting Reader refugees. Using an existing AOL account, or single sign-in through Google, Twitter or Facebook, the AOL Reader beta is open to anyone and everyone — a simple email address verification is the only barrier to entry.

Once you're signed in you'll need to import your stuff from Reader, a process which involves the use of Google Takeout rather than a direct data import, the approach used by Feedly and others. After uploading your subscriptions.xml file, you're  presented with a clean, simple interface for following your feeds. There's a wide array of keyboard shortcuts, and the interface can be switched between dark and light mode depending on your preference. We had a few issues uploading our XML file the first time around, however closing and re-opening the browser window seemed to fix things.

Once your stuff is imported, you're looking at your Google Reader feeds in a very Google Reader-like interface, albeit one with a snappier, more modern appearance and easier social sharing features. However attractive its web interface, AOL Reader is put at a distinct disadvantage by its present lack of mobile apps. Native Android and iOS clients are promised for the future, but right now it's web-only on both mobile and desktop.

If you want to take a closer look, you can sign up for AOL Reader on the web now. For more details, check out iMore's first-look walkthrough.


Reader comments

AOL Reader beta now live on the web


To rate it based on lack of native phone apps is a little cruel considering how caught off guard everyone was with Google Reader's closing. It will take a while for alternatives to catch up to the quality of experience that Google provided...

I'd agree if Feedly wasn't already so far ahead, and with an open API for others to build on. If anything I'd say I'm happier with Feedly than I was with reader, which definitely puts an unfinished AOL product at a pretty big disadvantage...

Feedly card view is unusable with mark auto read on scroll. This bug has been in existence since they launched card view and they've never bothered to fix it. Completely ridiculous.

The Feedly team saw opportunity and just ran with it. They shifted resources and made the right gamble and will likely be rewarded for it.

It is definitely still a beta app, but has potential. I haven't had time to read all the details, but an Android app to go along with it would be a plus.

What it did do is get me to look at AOL for the first time in a decade or so. Looks like they have been busy, in a good way.

So, has Yahoo released a new reader? Haven't looked at them in a while either. And what about Hotmail/Outlook?