Readefine’s newspaper style layout is similar to the widely used magazine style feed readers—Zite, Flipboard, and Pulse—for the iPad. Readefine synks directly with your Google Reader account and provides features not available in the online Google Reader app.
Google’s feed reader (shown below) is not poorly designed or unattractive. Feeds are easily accessible with drop-down menus for various actions, including marking all articles as read.
Some users however, may find Readefine’s layout more attractive because articles can be displayed in a newspaper style two- or three-column view, with visually appealing headlines at the top of the interface.
As Readefine is actually an application that integrates with your Google Reader account and other websites, you can even modify the text and layout settings in terms of font size, column width, and paragraph lead.
The user interface for Readefine includes two layouts – Classic and Magazine style. The latter presents multiple preview of articles from a feed (see below), while the Classic style is what you use to view and read one article at a time.
Like any web browser you can quickly change the font size of the text using keyboard shortcuts, Command/Control +, and you can click the Next and Previous page buttons to browse articles. You can also scroll from page to page using hand gestures on your trackpad, as well as navigate between articles by simply hitting your Space bar.
How To Use Readefine
Downloading and installing Readefine on your computer is a fairly easy process. You will need to have Adobe Air runtime already installed on your computer. If you don’t, you will be directed to install it. After launching Readefine, simply click Open in the Application Install window.
After the app opens and is ready to run, you will be presented with a log-in box for your Google Reader account. Notice also that you can view other websites and even documents on your computer in Readefine. A little more about this later.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference in terms of features between Google Reader and Readefine are the menu bar items that appear at the top of articles, when the Classic layout is selected. Instead of the drop-down buttons you find on Google Reader, your most regularly used actions for starring, sharing and marking articles as read are available nearly front-and-center.
The Wide Column button puts articles in a single column view, though I doubt many users will want to read articles in wide view on their computer.
The sharing features of Readefine are limited to Instapaper and to other Google Readers connected to your account.
Adding subscriptions to Readefine is similar to how you would do it in Google Reader. You can type and add a basic URL feed address from a site, copy and paste a URL, or simply select and drag an RSS feed link into the search box.
Readefine will maintain a history of the links and feeds you add to it, for later use.
In my test of adding text files from my computer, Readefine presented them in HTML code format, making it very difficult to read. However, when I copied and pasted text in the text book, the presentation looked great.
Readefine is not a fully featured application, yet. It would be useful to search for RSS feeds by topic, as well as by URL address. Readefine provides no support for emailing articles or Twitter and Facebook intergration. And switching from one feed subscription to another takes two or three clicks. It would be useful to have a dedicated menu button specifically for your Google Reader account. Despite these limitations, Readefine might appeal to users who would rather access their RSS feeds via a desktop application, in addition to an online client.
For other MUO articles about RSS readers, start with these posts:
- Top 10 Most Downloaded RSS Reader Apps [Movers & Shakers]
- Mixtab vs Google Reader: The Emergence Of Visual-Based RSS Feeds [Mac]
- Prldr: An Online RSS Feed Reader That Retains Original Layout
- 6 Of The Best Free RSS Readers For The iPad
Let us know what you think of Readefine.