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Substack is bringing back the RSS reader

Substack just announced their desktop RSS client alternative — Substack Reader for the web. The reader allows users to organise all of their Substack subscriptions in one page viewable from a laptop or PC while also integrating with third-party RSS feeds, letting users read feeds from multiple publications in one place. 

The desktop client is quite similar to Google Reader, which shut down nearly a decade ago. It has similar shortcuts while adding newer features such as a dark mode. The reader is also available as an iOS app which was released earlier this year and Android users can join the soon-to-launch Android waitlist

However, given how mobile-based the web reader’s interface is, the choice to delay the Android app’s launch might’ve been intentional to allow users to use and test the web reader first.

Posts generating the most subscriptions in one inbox will be prioritised. Users can click these posts to open and read in a new window, while also being able to ‘like’ or save individual posts from the feed itself. 

Substack is bringing back the RSS reader
Substack’s web reader and desktop apps are quite useful, especially if you’re a frequent Substack user. | Source: Substack

Substack isn’t doing something groundbreaking here. The reader is quite similar to all the Google Reader alternatives we’ve seen in the past and lags behind the competition when it comes to features. For example, rival feed reading app Feedly offers far more features and flexibility when comes to creating an RSS feed out of the user’s own accord and even offers features like Evernote integration. 

That said, it is rather feature-loaded for Substack users themselves. Also, while Substack is clearly promoting its own content using the new feed, any distractions like pop-up ads are well taken care of ensuring a distracting free experience. There are no pop-ups, auto-playing videos or distracting widgets to stray users.

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