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google reader appIf you’ve an avid Google Reader user, you might be interested in a new Adobe Air supported app called Readefine, which basically gives a fresh design to Google’s popular RSS feed reader. It also means accessing Google Reader in a separate application that you can run on your Mac, Windows, or Linux-based computer.

Readefine’s newspaper style layout is similar to the widely used magazine style feed readers—Zite Zite- Personalized Magazine & News Reader For Your iPad Zite- Personalized Magazine & News Reader For Your iPad Read More , Flipboard, and Pulse Pulse Is Now Free: A Visual Display RSS News Reader [iPad] Pulse Is Now Free: A Visual Display RSS News Reader [iPad] Read More —for the iPad. Readefine synks directly with your Google Reader account and provides features not available in the online Google Reader app.

Design Layout

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.

google reader app

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.

readefine google reader

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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.

readefine google reader

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.

readefine google reader

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.

readefine review

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.

readefine review

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.

readefine review

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 Manage Your Bookmarks & Reading List with Instapaper Manage Your Bookmarks & Reading List with Instapaper Read More and to other Google Readers connected to your account.

Adding Subscriptions

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.

google reader app

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:

Let us know what you think of Readefine.

  1. p riehl
    August 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    O RLY? Thanks. I'll add this to my lynx for future reference.

  2. p riehl
    August 10, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    "Readefine sinks directly with your Google Reader account"

    Erm, want to float that by me again?

    • Darryl
      August 14, 2011 at 8:09 pm

      'syncs'  is what he meant...   get it now?

    • Bakari
      August 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      p riehl, thanks for catching the error. We occasionally miss them, but we try hard not to.  And Darryle, you're right, I really did mean 'syncs'. 

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