Saturday, 13 August 2011

Syndication (Google Reader synching) app for Mac

As you remember from one of my blogs, I am a avid user of Google Reader. In my search of the perfect Google Reader app for Mac I have found a very interesting app, Syndication. Here is my review after having used it for some weeks.

Syndication finally brings one of the more popular features of Google Reader web interface into your Mac: continuous article reading mode, here called Timeline view. Just like in the web, you can scroll through the articles in a continuous screen that never ends as it loads more and more articles as you scroll down.

However, if you like more the kind of view that it is used, for instance, in the new Mail app, you have also the choice. This is the so called Classic view. You can choose whatever feels more natural for you.

The app also has social capabilities. You can share articles by email, Facebook, Twitter, and also clip them in Instapaper for later reading. And of course, you can star the article. All this sharing options are done within the internal browser that the app comes with.

As I have just mentioned, the app has an internal browser that allows you to check the original articles online. Here, I miss some option like Readability or Instapaper Mobilizer to read the article without the distractions of the ads and page layout. I hope this is included in the next versions.

From the options point of view, the app is quite simple: General options to change which is the default feed reader in your system, checking interval, removing old items, or marking items as read if they are older than certain time. You can activate and deactivate the icon badge with the unread article count. In the other setting tabs  we have font options and advance options to configure your Google account.

The app can run also without Google Reader, on its own, as an RSS reader, with the same capabilities. I have even heard from the developer that a free Syndication Lite version, without Google Reader synchronization, is coming very soon (within days) to the app store, so you can give it a try if you don't want to buy the app yet, although 3.99€ makes it very affordable anyway.

As a summary, here it is what I like and what I don't like and would like to see it coming in next versions:

I like:
- the simple interface
- app feels light and fast
- Timeline view

I don't like and would like to see fixed:
- problems when subscribing to a feed (sometimes is not synched properly with Google Reader)
- articles are set with the download time, not the published time, so it can be messy to know which articles are older that others, specially for starred items when you download them for the first time (you cannot see when the articles where originally published)
- more Google Reader options like "Share" or "Recommended articles"
- some kind of Readability or Instapaper mobilizer to read full articles
- more sync intervals, like every 5 min or every 15 min
- a better way to differentiate unread articles in the timeline view
- Lion full screen support

As a summary, I see a huge potential in this app if some of the bugs and small issues are corrected. If you are already convinced, you can go and buy it from this link to the app store.


UPDATE: Syndication has been discontinued and gone open source at I hope someone continues the development. It was a very promising reader

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