Some Options for Backing Up Your Google Reader Subscriptions

Well folks, this is it — the last weekend before Google reader shuts down for good. By now, you've probably already chosen a new RSS setup to get you through this tragic time, but you should still go ahead and back up your Google Reader data while you've still got a chance.

Luckily, there are several ways to do that:

1.) Google Takeout

This is Google Reader's own (comically-labrynthine) export option. Here are the steps you have to take:

  1. Log into Google Reader's web interface.
  2. Click the little 'gear' button at the upper-right.
  3. Click Reader settings.
  4. Click the Import/Export tab.
  5. Click the Download your data through Takeout link.
  6. On the next page, you may optionally add other Google services to back up if you wish. For our purposes today though, just click the red Create Archive button.
  7. If you've ever used Takeout in the past, this next page will show you those previous backups. Make sure to look at the most current one (it should be the one at the top) and click the blue Download button on the right.
  8. For whatever reason, Google makes you log back into your account. Enter your password (thank god for 1Password) and login.
  9. Oh look, you're back at the same screen as before. Go ahead and click that blue Download button...again.
  10. Voila! In only nearly-a-dozen steps, you've got a zip file full of the contents from your Google Reader account.

2.) Click this link

Dave Winer explains more about this link here, but seriously, you can just click this link and you'll automatically get an XML file sent to your Downloads folder, which you can rename as an OPML file if you want. Easy-peasy.

3.) Mihai Parparita's reader_archive tool

Mihai Parparita was one of the founding members and lead techs of Google Reader, and is now an engineer on the Google Chrome team. He has come up with his own archiving tool for Google Reader:

“Reader has Takeout support, but it's incomplete. I've therefore built the reader_archive tool that dumps everything related to your account in Reader via the "API". This means every read item3, every tagged item, every comment, every like, every bundle, etc. There's also a companion site at that explains how to use the tool, provides pointers to the archive format and collects related tools4.”

4.) CloudPull for Mac

CloudPull is a $15 Mac app that is specifically designed to back up data from any Google services you use. I'll leave it up to you to decide if it's worth the cost.

5.) NetNewsWire

As explained by Shawn Blanc:

“I just opened up NetNewsWire 3.3.2 and clicked on File → Export Subscriptions. From there I selected to export all of my subscriptions as an OPML file with groups, and now I’ve got a nice backup of all the feeds I was subscribed to in Google Reader.”

If you have a different RSS app, modify these instructions as needed.

6.) Import your subscriptions using another RSS service

If you haven't already picked another RSS service, there are plenty to choose from. Just a few examples:

Unless I'm mistaken, every one of these can sign into your Google Reader account and import your subscriptions. They may not always maintain your folder structure, but that can always be fixed later on (or you can take it as an opportunity to change the way you've got things organized).

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Most of these options only take about a minute, so there's no reason not to get this taken care of before Monday. Do it now!