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rss readerWith all the attention and buzz around social networks, some people predicted the demise of RSS. RSS however soldiers on and in fact, most of the social networks either directly provide RSS feeds for things you might be interested in, or there are clever hacks to get RSS feeds for your favorite pages.

One of the most popular RSS readers comes from the big G – Google – and provides a ton of interesting and unique features. The only downside?  You can’t use it when you’re offline. Web based RSS reader apps might be the future, but the future isn’t here yet and every now and then you need desktop alternatives for those cool online web apps. Desktop Google Reader is one such software.


A 6MB download, it installs in a snap without any issues. Do note that while the name would have you believe that Google has something to with the software, it is actually created and maintained without Google’s aid. It does however sync with Google’s awesome RSS Reader, and that’s about where the association ends.

After the software is installed, go ahead and run it. It asks for credentials for your Google account that is associated with Google Reader. Once the login is successful, you are greeted by a familiar desktop email client-like interface. The feeds are listed on the left side, click on a feed and all the items in the feed are displayed in the top right pane.

Clicking on any item in the top right pane opens up the complete feed content for that item in the bottom right pane. The interface thus is like the “List” view inside Google Reader, only you get to see the contents in the bottom right pane.

Desktop Google Reader

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Initially it does take some time to sync all your unread items on to your desktop. To be fair, I do have a enormous reading list. After the initial sync, you can start using Desktop Google Reader in all its glory. In the left pane you have buttons to refresh feed content, mark all items as read, add or remove a feed and configure desktop Google reader.

You can move through the items using arrow keys and then there are additional buttons within the bottom right pane to perform various actions on the item.

rss reader

You can for example, like, share, email and tag the feed item. In addition to these Google Reader functions, you can also add the feed item to Read it Later Build an Online Reading List with "Read It Later" Build an Online Reading List with "Read It Later" Read More or Instapaper Manage Your Bookmarks & Reading List with Instapaper Manage Your Bookmarks & Reading List with Instapaper Read More to read them in your free time. Last but not least, you can of course tweet what you are reading, from the comforts of your RSS reader.

Desktop Google Reader uses Chromium Diet Chromium - A Slimmer Chrome OS That Supports More Hardware Diet Chromium - A Slimmer Chrome OS That Supports More Hardware Read More to render the contents of feeds which you can use to browse links in the feed’s content or you can simply hit the ‘Tab’ key to open up the post in your default browser.

Desktop Google Reader

Desktop Google Reader also displays notifications whenever a feed updates. You can read the headline and choose to visit the page by clicking on the appropriate button on the notification.

In addition to all the features, Desktop Google Reader allows you to tweak its settings using the preferences dialog (accessible via the Preferences button in the menu).

The Preferences dialog lets you configure various aspects of the software. You can vary the refresh interval, choose how the summary is displayed or tweak what gets displayed on the notifications that pop up. In addition Desktop Google Reader lets you configure proxy servers as well as usernames and passwords for Read it Later and Instapaper all from within the Preferences dialog.

Desktop Google Reader is a nice desktop client for Google Reader. The included social features are awesome and notifications can help you stay on top of updates and you can turn them off and minimize Desktop Google Reader to tray when you want to stay away from distractions. What’s best, you can access all your Google Reader feeds even when you are offline!

Do you use desktop RSS readers? Which is your favorite?

  1. Bayan
    June 23, 2010 at 9:00 am

    I have problem when i try to login at first time to google reader.
    When press login, its pass "login ok, fetching data" but then appear "error connection". it's close and appear windows error "Desktop Google Reader has encountered problems and needs to close".
    how i can fix this problem.

  2. Bayan
    June 23, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I have problem when i try to login at first time to google reader.
    When press login, its pass "login ok, fetching data" but then appear "error connection". it's close and appear windows error "Desktop Google Reader has encountered problems and needs to close".
    how i can fix this problem.

  3. Sven
    May 20, 2010 at 8:39 am

    No promise when but I will add filtering in a later version: http://desktopgooglereader.cod...

  4. Sven
    May 20, 2010 at 8:34 am

    For Mac OS X I would suggest Gruml (in fact quite some ideas in Desktop Google Reader are from there...)
    Filtering is a good idea - maybe I could do some like this in a 2.1 release (saying while 2.0 is quite some time ahead... ;)

  5. Aibek
    May 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I am with you on this one. But on the other hand there is is really no
    way for this app to work without it knowing your login credentials.

    Aibek

  6. Rmd
    May 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    er... am I the only paranoid being scared by typing my google account user/password into a 3rd party application dialog?

    • Aibek
      May 18, 2010 at 1:23 pm

      I am with you on this one. But on the other hand there is is really no
      way for this app to work without it knowing your login credentials.

      Aibek

    • Scott_T
      May 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      It is open source though so its prob safe. maybe? I agree though.

    • Sven
      May 20, 2010 at 6:32 am

      No, you are not the only one scared giving away the Google password. The password so is only send using HTTPS from the App - it is never in any place saved or transmitted in plain text. If you decide to store it on your harddisk it is enccrypted to your Windows user login - or just don't save it to disk... :)

    • Sue Anne Reed
      May 30, 2010 at 12:29 am

      After recently having my email hacked, I'm hesitant to share my login credentials. If the application finds a way to use the "grant access" feature of Google, I'd probably use it. Until then, no.

      • Helnes
        June 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm

        Never had my email hacked - but I do understand what you mean. The "grant access" feature is some kind of security

  7. Ben
    May 18, 2010 at 12:31 am

    Same thing on OSX would be great!!!
    I am also looking at some intelligent features like a filter to remove doublons articles: when you are following lots of tech feeds you always have the same story 3-4...10 times in the same day and it's boring... and most the time it's nearly the same title. An intelligent filter would group the articles which are alike...

  8. Ben
    May 17, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Same thing on OSX would be great!!!
    I am also looking at some intelligent features like a filter to remove doublons articles: when you are following lots of tech feeds you always have the same story 3-4...10 times in the same day and it's boring... and most the time it's nearly the same title. An intelligent filter would group the articles which are alike...

    • Scott_T
      May 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      I've posted a feature request to google a couple of times for keyword filtering. Just removing articles with 'ipad' would clear up a lot of tech news :P

    • Sven
      May 20, 2010 at 6:34 am

      For Mac OS X I would suggest Gruml (in fact quite some ideas in Desktop Google Reader are from there...)
      Filtering is a good idea - maybe I could do some like this in a 2.1 release (saying while 2.0 is quite some time ahead... ;)

  9. imdragon
    May 17, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    To be fair, there are a number of people who sync their computer or phone just before going onto a commute where they might not have service, wifi or whatever. In that case using it offline is where this applies. In that case, Google Reader also has an offline mode where you just press a button and it takes care of that for you.

    There are also social networking options in Google Reader as well, so we'll see what differences this software has.

    I'm taking a look into this software to see what it can offer.

  10. Mike Dunham
    May 17, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    "The only downside? You can’t use it when you’re offline."

    What good is an RSS reader when you're offline? And if you're online, why not just use the web client (which is basically imdragon's point)? Seems like a waste of time to me.

  11. Mike Dunham
    May 17, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    "The only downside? You can’t use it when you’re offline."

    What good is an RSS reader when you're offline? And if you're online, why not just use the web client (which is basically imdragon's point)? Seems like a waste of time to me.

    • Anonymous
      May 17, 2010 at 8:47 pm

      To be fair, there are a number of people who sync their computer or phone just before going onto a commute where they might not have service, wifi or whatever. In that case using it offline is where this applies. In that case, Google Reader also has an offline mode where you just press a button and it takes care of that for you.There are also social networking options in Google Reader as well, so we'll see what differences this software has.I'm taking a look into this software to see what it can offer.

  12. imdragon
    May 17, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    OR you could make a shortcut on your desktop like below:

    C:\Users\USER\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe --app="http://reader.google.com/"

    You can also make it a little prettier by downloading a Google Reader icon for it.

    Also learn to keyboard shortcuts from Google Reader to have more fun!

  13. Anonymous
    May 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    OR you could make a shortcut on your desktop like below:C:UsersUSERAppDataLocalGoogleChromeApplicationchrome.exe --app="http://reader.google.com/"You can also make it a little prettier by downloading a Google Reader icon for it.Also learn to keyboard shortcuts from Google Reader to have more fun!

  14. claw
    May 17, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    I give it a try. Sounds good :)

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