Feedly starts moving users to homespun RSS service as Google Reader death looms

Plans to beat the July 1 deadline with more than a week to spare

Feedly said Monday that it has started migrating its users to its own back-end RSS infrastructure two weeks before Google is to pull the plug on its Reader service.

Millions of Google refugees have moved to the San Francisco-based Feedly after the search giant announced in March it would kill the Google Reader online application and the syndication service that powers it.

RSS, for "rich site summary" and "really simple syndication," is a collection of formats for publishing frequently updated online content, primarily blogs.

Google Reader and its RSS service, which once powered scores of third-party desktop and mobile applications, will go dark July 1.

After millions scrambled for alternatives, Feedly became the preferred destination in large part because it was the first to promise users it would send their feeds to a homegrown clone of the Google Reader API (application programming interface), code-named "Normandy," before Google's service went silent.

Feedly has started shifting approximately 7 million accounts from the Google Reader API to its own API and servers.

"Over the next 2-3 days you should expect to receive a green banner message (desktop) or a green card (mobile)," the company said on its website. "This is the notification that your feeds and categories and up to 1,000 starred items have been successfully migrated to the Feedly cloud and the articles you are seeing are coming from the Feedly service."

The migration to the Feedly RSS service should be completed by Friday, June 21, the company said.

Feedly acknowledged that not all information from users' Google Reader feeds would make the move, and that users may encounter glitches initially.

"The one part we did not migrate from Google Reader is your history -- too much data -- so you have to expect that you are starting from a blank history and your unread counts will be reset," Feedly said. "This is a one-time issue."

There may also be a delay of several days in saved items appearing in the Feedly-powered displays, and some feeds may not load properly, the company admitted. "Some of the domains we are connecting to do not know Feedly yet and might throttle us," Feedly said. "It is the case of Live Journal for example. We are working hard to get whitelisted."

Feedly asked customers to submit any bugs they encounter to the email address care@feedly.com.

Although Feedly is free, the company has said it will offer a paid option later this year. It has not disclosed pricing, a feature set or timetable for the premium service.

Feedly provides apps for both iOS and Android on the App Store and Google Play respectively, as well as browser-specific plug-ins for Chrome, Firefox and Safari on the desktop. The plug-ins can be downloaded from the Feedly site.

Details on the migration can be found on Feedly's blog.

Several other RSS apps will also rely on Feedly's API to serve their users, including gReader (for Android; free or $4.99 for Pro version), Newsify (iOS; free) and Nextgen Reader (Windows Phone, Windows 8; $1.99-$2.99).

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com.

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