Google Reader On The Go With GoReader

Google Reader is by far one of my favorite services. In case you haven’t used it, Google Reader allows you to read all your RSS feeds on the same place, share them and add notes to them easily. It’s been available for quite some time now, and it’s just great because it’s simple and reliable. Since I got my iPhone, I’ve been reading my feeds using Google Reader straight from Safari since they have a mobile version (which is pretty good I might add). Lately though, since Flipboard for iPhone was launched, I’ve been reading all my Google Reader news from that app.

But to change things up a bit, I decided to take a look at GoReader. It’s an app that works specifically with Google’s service and syncs everything as well. Let’s see if it’s a viable replacement for its competitors.

Getting Started

Since it syncs with Google Reader, you’ll obviously going to need a Google account. GoReader asks you for your credentials upon launching the app for the first time. Be sure to uncheck the “Subscribe to newsletter” if you don’t want to receive it.

Logging in and your feeds

Logging in and your feeds

Just after you enter your details, GoReader will go into action. It’ll sync all your news feeds and items (only 1000 by default, though). If you’ve been using Google Reader prior, the app will take some time to finish syncing, since it also caches all images present on articles (which is configurable), so hang in there.

Reading Your Feeds

Once it’s all synced up, you’ll be greeted with your news feeds. The app is very intuitive in terms of distinguishing which items you’ve read and which you haven’t. Numbers in blue mean unread items, where gray numbers mean items already read. The green and orange colors mean items you’ve shared and starred, respectively.

Blue's good, means there's reading material

Blue's good — it means there's reading material

I prefer to read my news by feed, but you may prefer to read them all on the same list. Tapping on “All news” will congregate all of your feeds into one single list, where tapping single feeds will filter news items by its source. Reading news items in GoReader is great. The colors and font in which the text is rendered is easy on the eyes and great for reading.

Checking your feeds and reading an article

Checking your feeds and reading an article

Pulling down when reading an item takes you to fullscreen mode, and pulling down again exits fullscreen.

Apart from Google Reader’s share feature, there’s also the ability to share what you’re reading using Twitter, Facebook, Delicious and even SMS. Just tap the share icon on the bottom right to reveal a menu. There, you can share to your different social networks easily, even copy the item’s URL to quickly share elsewhere.

Sharing a great article

Sharing a great article

Accounts And Subscriptions

Even though you were allowed to use a single account when first opening the app, you can configure multiple accounts on the settings panel. Simply tap the gears icon at the top left from the main screen and tap Account Management. There, you’ll be able to add as many accounts as you need (although I would never need more than one).

Managing your accounts and subscriptions

Managing your accounts and subscriptions

In the same fashion, adding subscriptions isn’t limited to the web version of Google Reader. Tapping the gears icon and then the SubscriptionManagement button, you can manage your feeds easily. You can sort them, delete them and add new ones using the feed’s URL.

Other Settings

Tapping on the aforementioned gears icon on the top left, reveals the settings panel, where, apart from managing accounts and subscriptions, you can change, for example, how many items you want to sync each time. You can also change the sync period, which lets you choose between syncing the last day’s worth of items or more. Other than that, you can change the font size, whether to cache images or if you only want to be able to sync on Wi-Fi.

The app's settings

The app's settings

In my opinion, this part of the app could use some organizing. It feels a little cluttered and hard to get at a quick glance.

Final Thoughts

This app is very well made. It’s stable and it never crashed on me during testing. I’m not a big fan of the user interface for some reason, although the choices the developers made in terms of fonts, colors and sizes is great for reading. One thing that does come to mind is that it’s actually a little too slow to sync (especially compared to Flipboard). That’s something that could be improved, perhaps removing syncing altogether and going with an “online” approach, not having to wait for it to finish downloading everything.

Another thing that caught my eye is that when sharing through Twitter, the app doesn’t use iOS 5’s built-in Twitter sharing. Not really sure if it’s even possible, but if it is, that’s another thing that could be easily improved (and would actually be great).

Other than that, it’s a great app; very robust and a great choice if you’re looking for something to read your Google Reader items on the go, especially if you need to have them available offline.


The missing Google Reader app.