How to Save Your Google Reader RSS Feeds & Data

Google giveth and Google taketh away. That's what happened with the company's RSS management and reader service called Google Reader just this week. If you rely on Reader for your RSS needs you aren't dead in the water yet, but it's a good idea to download your feed list and other settings ahead of the July 1 cutoff date.

Google made it fairly simple to download all of your Reader settings along with your RSS feed list. Here's how:

You can export an archive of your Google Reader feeds and settingsYou can export an archive of your Google Reader feeds and settings

  • Fire up your favorite desktop Web browser and head over to the Google Takeout page.
  • Login to your Google account.
  • Wait for Takeout to finish loading your Reader data, and then click Create Archive.
  • Once Google finishes building your Reader archive, click Download.
  • You may need to re-enter your Google account information to start the download. You'll end up with a ZIP archive in your default downloads location.

After Google builds the archive you can save it to your computerAfter Google builds the archive you can save it to your computer

That's it. Now you have a nice little bundle with all of your Google Reader settings and a full list of every RSS feed you follow. Your feeds are stored in a file called subscriptions.xml, and it's a safe bet developers will include a way to easily import that list as they update their RSS apps to workaround Google Reader's demise.

Assuming you already have an RSS reader app on your Mac, your feeds are still safely tucked away there, too. The big change you'll see is that come July 1 your feeds won't sync between devices any more.

It's a shame that Google worked so hard to kill off the market for apps that use their own sync systems to match up RSS feeds across devices because developers and end users were all forced into the Google model whether they wanted to go there or not. Now Google is taking that away and leaving a void that developers need to scramble to fill.

The upside is that we may start to see some interesting improvements in the RSS reader and management app market now that developers aren't shackled to Google for syncing, and I'm betting many of those developers that were burned by Google's decision will think long and hard before relying on the Big G for product-critical services in the future.