Oh, Google, look what you have done! Now that the king has left the RSS castle, a number of companies are trying to take over the RSS throne. The latest company to stake a claim in all that RSS readership is AOL. That's right, AOL. Today, AOL has announced that the company is releasing its own RSS reader, and here's what it looks like.
'A Simple Google Inspired Design
AOL (and all competing companies) wants to make the transition from Google Reader to AOL Reader as painless as possible. To do so, AOL has borrowed extensively from Google's former design. Users will see a nice and clean interface that's as sparse and simple as the old Google Reader.
The AOL Reader is split into neat columns like most other RSS readers out there. On the left side of the screen you will see all site subscriptions neatly tucked away in nested folders. In the middle is a large image of whatever you are currently reading, and on the right side of the screen is an ad space. Right now, that space is filled with an AOL ad prompt.
The one thing that previous Google readers will be looking for is an easy importation solution. Unfortunately, AOL has missed the mark here. There are no importation features to be seen. But, to be fair, there are a number of ways to search for subscriptions using URL information, names, or an OPLM file. Searching is painless, but some former Google users will be looking for that import feature no matter what.
Another nice feature that AOL has added is a tagging feature. This feature allows users to quickly tag articles that can be further organized. If you are into organizing files, this feature is for you. AOL hasn’t added one key feature, though, and this may drive former Google users away from this reader option. What is that feature? Content search. Currently, there is no way to search through all of your content. This is a feature that Google Reader users will miss. It’s also a feature that competitor companies are likely to jump on.
Fast and Painless
When all is said and done, though, the new AOL reader is a fast and painless switch from the old Google Reader. While few companies will be able to replace everything that Google Reader was, AOL is giving it a good shot. AOL’s new reader is particularly fast (a really important fact), and there’s really no learning curve to deal with here. If you’re coming from Google Reader, you won’t have a hard time working with what AOL has to offer.
Is AOL the replacement reader for you? It’s certainly one of the top contenders. Not sure? Hang tight, nearly every company on the planet is trying to fill Google’s shoes – and there’s even a rumor that Facebook is working on its own reader. So, you can spend some time testing out each service before you find one that’s fits just like Google Reader used to.