How to move from Google Reader to Netvibes

With yesterday’s startling news that Google Reader is shutting down (startling to me, anyways, if not to others), I’ve been casting around for a new RSS reader that I can use on both my desktop and my phone. One of the services that has been highly recommended is Netvibes, and while I’m not confident I’ll be using it long-term, I did discover that it’s super easy to get your feeds from Google Reader over to Netvibes.

Step the First: Export your feeds from Google Reader

Google has a tool called Google Takeout that lets you export your data from them, but when I used this, I found that it didn’t preserve any of my organization. Because RSS doesn’t actually support things like tagging and file structures, all of my groups in Google Reader were unrepresented in the Takeout export.

This means that you don’t want to use the generally recommended method of Google Takeout, and instead you want to create what Google Reader calls “Bundles.” This is really easy–just open the menu of each group you have using the down-arrow to the right of the name and select Create a Bundle.

Create a Bundle in Google Reader

You have the option of naming the Bundle, which is pretty irrelevant for our purposes, so you can leave that as its default. Hit Save.

Save your new Bundle

Once your Bundle is saved, you can download the OPML file created by Google. Just right click on it and Save As. Put this on your Desktop, in your Downloads folder, or someplace else that you can find it easily, because we’re going to upload it to Netvibes in the next step.

Download the OPML bundle you created

Step the Second: Create a Netvibes account

Sign up for a Netvibes account. It didn’t occur to me to document this and take screenshots until I had already almost finished the process, so I’ll rely on Netvibes themselves to provide you guidance on how to create an account 😉

Step the Third: Add Feed to Netvibes

I liked my organization in Google Reader, so I wanted to recreate that in Netvibes as much as possible. To that end, I created a tab for each folder/group/bundle that I had on Google Reader.

Use the Plus on the far right side of your screen in Netvibes to create a new tab.

Use the Plus sign on the right to create a new tab

Once your tab is created, you are asked to “Enter the topic you want to track.” If you do this, your new tab will be filled with content selected by Netvibes. Instead, click “Or leave the tab empty.”

Don't search for content for your new tab

This done, you can name your tab in the Tab Options on the left. This will pop up automatically, but if you don’t see it, you can get to it by clicking the down arrow to the right of the tab name, much like we did on Google Reader. Once you have it named, you can click that same down arrow to hide the Tab Options.

Name your new Netvibes tab

We’re now ready to add content to the tab. Click on the Add Content button at the top left of Netvibes to drop down the options.

Add content to Netvibes

Using the Add a feed option, we’ll be given the opportunity to upload the OPML file we created earlier.

Add a feed to Netvibes

Select Import and find the OPML XML file you saved earlier. Once you have it selected, you’ll click the Import button to the right of the file name.

Import your Bundle into Netvibes

And we’re done! To make it feel a little bit more like home, you can switch it from the Widgets view to the Reader view up top, but the choice is yours.

Switch from Widgets view to Reader view in Netvibes

I hope this helps those of you switching from Google Reader to Netvibes in the coming months. As for me, I’m testing Netvibes, Feedly, Fever, and probably a couple other RSS readers before I’ll settle down on one for good.

Let me know if you have any questions, and good luck!

8 thoughts on “How to move from Google Reader to Netvibes

  1. thanks a lot, really great job 🙂 now I am happy by the way is there any way that I can put the netvibes on my weblog? thx


    1. It doesn’t look like Netvibes has the same sort of “bundling” that Google Reader did. I’m afraid you’ll need to find another way to display RSS feeds on your blog.

      Good luck!


  2. Hi Matthew, thanks for this. I wonder if we can have a single RSS out from the “bundle” we uploaded here on Netvibes?


    1. That seems to be the question on everybody’s minds! At this time, it doesn’t look like Netvibes offers the same bundling of feeds that Google Reader did. You’ll need to find another way to display RSS feeds on your sites, unfortunately.


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