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.