The best RSS clients that I've found (Reeder for iOS and Pulse for Android) both use Google Reader as a backend to keep the feed list in sync. I don't really want a whole ecosystem, any social features, a fancy web site, etc. All I really want from an alternative is for it to provide an API for keeping feed lists in sync and for the many Google Reader clients currently available to support it.
This is exactly what I've been thinking. The conversation about "RSS readers" is really about several different components that are integrated in to a comprehensive product:
* A backend for managing subscriptions, read/unread status, tagging, etc
* A web UI for reading your feed from anywhere
* A native-client (iOS, Android, OS X, etc) for accessing your feed from your devices
Users of the Google Reader web UI need the full stack, and there are already alternatives, but there are many native-client users who don't need the full stack. They only need the backend.
If someone were to roll a Google Reader API compatible feed subscription and sync service, I think they could recoup their investment pretty easily.
UPDATE: It looks like Feedly has "Normandy" waiting in the wings, but I'm not sure how access and fees will shake out for third-party developers. I'd really like to stick to my existing native-client (Reeder), so here's hoping that they make it reasonable and everyone gets on-board.
Feedly is doing just that. They are inviting third-parties who are interested in using their cloned version of the Google Reader API, which is currently called Normandy, to contact them in order to "...keep the Google Reader ecosystem alive."
Hi, Rssminer is a personal weekend project, it's open source 
I create it because I want to learn how to do one page webapp with Backbone.js, but at the last, I drop backbone, life become much easier.
When writing it, I need an async HTTP Server and Client, so I write one myself, called http-kit, it seems that it's more popular than Rssminer.
Rssminer is not feature complete as other ones, It has:
1. Import subscription list from Google Reader
2. Feed reading
3. Keyboard support
4. Fast (the landing page is not very fast, though)
5. Run it yourself, the readme on github has detailed procedure about how to run it locally.
Bug report or pull request are welcome. Let's build a Rss reader we like.
Reddit is also much more mainstream than HN, I think that has to do a lot with it. Perhaps disabling registrations from time to time is a really good move, plus HN is much more focused. Anyone can make a subreddit about his own cool, weird or funny subject.
I've used Pulse for quite a while, but I had to switch to Google Reader since it became too limiting for me. (It limits the amount of feeds per page.) Pulse also doesn't have a list view I prefer, and when using the website, it has to load a preview image for every post.
I think that Feedly is a better alternative to Pulse, since it has better layout customization.
In what way isn't strictly one? After spending quite a lot of time looking for nice RSS readers for the iPad I opted for Pulse and never looked back. Apart from anything else it seemed one of the few that (at the time) didn't rely on a Google Reader account.
I use Netvibes all the time.. i used Google Reader as well, but would definitely recommend Netvibes.. as its reader give good bird eye view of all the feeds. Once you get used to this type, you will never go back to anything else.
I remember when I used Mozilla Thunderbird. It had the perfect interface to deal with all my feeds AND my mails. I went to Google Reader when I also went to Gmail, when I wanted to access all my stuff from the cloud instead of my computer.
I think now it would be the best time to get Thunderbird back on it's feet. Add the ability to sync with a Google-Reader-like API, like the one that Feedly wants to do, and it would be the best reader for Windows, in my humble opinion.
Ideally there's little difference, like Google Reader. There's a web interface and a mobile app that syncs with it. (Do people really use a desktop client? If so, why? Seems like a relic of another age, like desktop email clients.)
I want to choose which mobile app to use, I don't want to be tied down. Reeder, the RSS client I use, supports several Read Later services, several blogging platforms, tons of social networks, bookmarking sites, and Evernote. That's why it's so invaluable to me, and there is no other RSS client that's nearly as versatile. That's why I just want a new backend to replace GR, and since Reeder already supports Fever on iPhone, that'll probably be it for me.
Also, I still use a desktop mail client (OS X Mail), because it integrates well with my OS and it's scriptable. I like having local copies of my mail and attachments, and it's automatically backed up. The mail is also stored on IMAP servers so I can access it on other devices. I have over 100K emails, going back to 1994. There's no way that I'm going to rely solely on one web based service like GMail for that.
I've been a Google Reader user since 2006 and have rarely seen the website. I used NetNewsWire for years, then Reeder. For me, web apps are good as sych engines between native clients, and emergency back-up ways to access data from other machines.
Sure, we're getting off topic, but how is a desktop email client a relic of another age? Especially since the first decent webmail application with "modern" post-1998 features such as a decent split view is less than a year old (outlook.com)?
A fine self-hosted web-based alternative to Google Reader. There has been no project activity lately but the software works just fine, I have been using it since 2006 - just keep it private for security's sake. It scales well with a lot of feeds.
I was part of the Bloglines team from 2007 to 2009.
The current Bloglines is nothing like the original. It looks like MerchantCircle kept only the name after acquiring it from Ask. The archived feed data is gone, and the current UI appears to be a re-skin/fork of Netvibes. It's a poor imitation of its former self.
I would say that except for the responsiveness of the layout it is as good as google reader. It is a little laggy to load things but otherwise it is all drag and drop, very familiar feeling. It might not be the best but unless there becomes a defacto replacement for GReader, or they decide to keep it, I have a feeling I will just stick with this.