AOL Reader Review: Free RSS Feed Reader

Google Reader service expired on July 1. By then, already a list of alternatives was made available for users to select the desired service as a replacement for the existing one. Many came as surprise drop-in: First, we saw Digg and now latest to pitch with the slogan “all your favorite websites, in one place,” is AOL Reader.

AOL Reader doesn’t immediately hit you with dozens of features or crazy animations. It instead, fires up the basic service. Though web-based entirely for now, the service offers an optimized, touch-friendly design for mobile users.

AOL Reader Review

To use AOL Reader, navigate to and sign up with your Facebook, Twitter or Google account. Later, when your AOL Reader is ready, you shall receive a welcome email from the AOL Team.

Like most RSS Readers, AOL Reader too is divided into 2 columns. The left-hand column although looks thin, is well-spaced and at the top displays buttons to refresh feeds and adds new subscriptions.

AOL Reader add subscriptions - corner

During first login, a user may get prompts to add new subscriptions. He can do so via 3 simple ways,

  1. Import Feeds from other services such as Google Reader
  2. Add Feeds manually or
  3. Browse through categories suggested by AOL

AOL Reader add subscriptions

If you are browsing through the categories suggested by AOL, simply choose a category of your choice; select the preferred website from the list by clicking the link below it.

AOL Reader category link

Then, name the source and hit the ‘Subscribe’ button. The category will be added to the left pane of the Reader instantly.

AOL Subscribe option

If you observe, left navigation bar houses all your RSS feeds and a main pane adjacent to it (right) previews all your content becomes easily visible. Towards the left of the main window, you can find the publisher’s name, title of an article and few words description following the title


Once you subscribe to any of the above method, different layouts become visible to you. Of course, you get the option to change the display mode to a mode of your choice. Traditionally, it has

  • List View – Shows/displays headlines in a list
  • Card View – Offers a more comfortable view for reading in multiple columns
  • Full View – Gives complete synopsis of an article.

View mode

Take a look at the card-view here!

card view

All said, no RSS Reader is complete without keyboard shortcuts. As such, you can find dozens of keyboard shortcuts supported by AOL Reader. Here are some.

  • add subscription
  • s star article
  • t tag article
  • v view original content
  • m mark article as read/unread
  • r refresh feed listing
  • = increase magnification.
  •  decrease magnification.
  • Cursor up+space previous item or page.
  • Cursor up+n or p next or previous subscription.
  • Cursor up+x expand folder
  • Cursor up+o open subscription/folder
  • g+h Jump to Home.
  • g+a Jump to all items.
  • g+s Jump to starred items.

In all, users familiar with Google Reader should find AOL Reader easy to use. It surely offers quick scanning and simple organization of your RSS feeds

UPDATE: AOL Reader is discontinued now.

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The author Hemant Saxena is a post-graduate in bio-technology and has an immense interest in following Windows, Office and other technology developments. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player. Creating a System Restore Point first before installing a new software, and being careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware is recommended.

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