announced that they are discontinuing their news feed service Google Reader as
of July 1st ,
citing a loyal, but declining readership and the intent to
focus more heavily on other products.
The service, which originally launched in 2005, allows readers to follow news by aggregating RSS feeds and easily browsing and sharing their favorite stories in a simple interface. Once Google acquired their major competitor, Feedburner, in 2007 and folded its features into Reader, it became the most popular news feed summary service over the past five years.
Of course, many Google Reader fans are now in an uproar, and Yahoo! is benefitting. Within 48 hours after the announcement, competitor Feedly recorded a mass exodus of 500,000 users from Google Reader to its platform, which offers similar services for free (2.5 million more followed within the first two weeks). With an attractive design and customizable interface, as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS, it's not hard to see why Feedly has been lauded as Google Reader's successor.
But, for those looking for an alternative with a focus on the Middle East, here are some alternatives that support both Arabic and English:
- Agenda25 is a smartphone
application that first attempted to handle the momentum of news and
political views after Egypt’s revolution. The application retrieves
a political digest that includes opinions, videos and blogs from
Facebook and Twitter. Based on a user’s interaction over time, the
app predicts preferred content and shows this at the top of the
feed. Users can’t add other news sources to Agenda25 however,
making the focus fairly limited to political news inside Egypt, but
it’s still a useful app for those interested in the topic. The app
is available in Arabic and can be downloaded on iOS, Android, and
BlackBerry for free.
- Nextly is another platform that, while it doesn't allow for customized lists of feeds- yet- allows readers to browse through the latest websites shared by a given news outlet via its RSS feed. In other words, you can leap from website to website directly, without panning through lists. Their curated list of news feeds includes sources like Y Combinator's Hacker News, and a list of the top 100 VC blogs, curated by Brad Feld, oh, and the Wamda feed. More customization is coming soon. (Disclosure: Wamda Capital has invested in Nextly).
- Akhbarak.net, developed by Egyptian developer Osman Ahmed Osman and currently owned by Sarmadi, specializes in political news and covers a wide range of fields from several select news sources and newspapers. Akhbarak.net classifies news by popularity based on how often each topic is read by users. It also offers a feed for the most popular news and is available online in Arabic.
- Nabd, developed by Waveline Media, is a mobile news aggregator covering news from 13 Arab countries. The app lets users select interests, favorite news sources, and preferred countries and is available for free on iOS.
Are there other aggregators that you use to organize your news in either Arabic or English? Let us know in the comments section below.