Just a few days after news circulated that AOL was bringing its own RSS reader to the web, the company launched on Monday its response to the nearly defunct Google Reader.
AOL Reader — which bears the tagline “all your favorite websites, in one place” for both desktop and mobile devices — aims to make reading content from around the Internet easier, engaging and more social. It comes with a clean, organized interface and is extremely intuitive to use.
It’s fast, too. In fact, it imported my full Google Reader subscription library in about four minutes. It also provides helpful instructions on how to transfer feeds from Google Reader to AOL Reader.
The launch comes just one week before Google Reader shuts down for good, which has upset many of its dedicated users and even sparked a White House petition to keep it running. Since then, other companies are looking for a slice of the reader pie. In fact, Facebook is rumored to be experimenting with its own RSS feed — possibly a Flipboard competitor — and Digg is also poised to launch its on RSS reader on June 26.
Although AOL Reader will likely be a true contender in the RSS space, especially with Google Reader on its way out, it’s not reinventing the wheel. Some nice bells and whistles include sharing content across Facebook, Twitter and Google+, the ability to save articles for future reading and an API for developers and third party apps. You can also tag articles for archiving.
Here’s how it works: After signing up with an AOL account, which can be created for free, you’re prompted to add new subscriptions or import your old ones.
To add a new subscription, simply select various categories such as technology and entertainment. AOL Reader populates each category with some media outlets, but you can also type in a particular organization to follow. After subscribing, a list of stories appears in a feed via its headlines; the most recent stories are listed first.
After clicking on a link, the story and lead image enlarge. By clicking it, you will be redirected to the article’s page on the outlet’s website. As you add new subscriptions, they will be added to the left-hand toolbar and can be later filtered by the content you want to read.
For a full walkthrough on AOL Reader, check out the gallery above. To sign up now, click here.