Google Reader gets official Android app

Google's RSS reader now has an official app on the Android Market, lovingly hand-crafted by the search behemoth itself to bring you your news.

Google Reader, the uber-searcher's RSS reader, now has an official app for Android phones.

There were already plenty of apps available on the Android Market that connected with Google Reader to grab your feeds, but it's always nice to see an official app that can serve things up simply and reliably.

The app syncs with your Google Reader account to download the lastest news from your RSS feeds. That means you can subscribe to feeds by adding them in your browser and automatically see the results on your phone, and vice versa.

You can choose to flip through the stories by pressing the volume button on your phone, and you can send links to friends using any of the apps installed on your phone that offer that option, such as Facebook and Twitter.

The app also supports following your friends' accounts, if you're interested in reading their Justin Beiber fan sites or whatever those freaks are into. 

We took it for a test drive and found the app looked similar to the mobile Web version of Google Reader that you see when you visit the website in the phone's browser. A plain white background and a bit of blue trim remind you that you've arrived in Google's world.

It's easy to take a look at new stories, all at once from the firehose or by selecting individual feeds and folders. Sharing a link was simple once we'd figured it out, but the option is buried in the menus, requiring three clicks to access.

The app also worked well when we were offline, having cached the content of our feeds. But be warned -- images aren't downloaded, so you'll have to wait till you're back online before you can check out that lolcat.

One thing the Google Reader app didn't do well was play podcasts, which are essentially RSS feeds of audio and are also handled by Google Reader in the browser. For these, check out the Google Listen podcast app instead.

The Google Reader app is supported on Android version 2.0 Donut and above. To download the app, search for it in the Android Market on your phone or scan this here QR code if you have an app for it, such as Barcode Scanner

 

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