[Tech] Make Google Reader Pretty

Pure Reader for Chrome

Pure Reader for Chrome

Google Reader. It’s pretty much become the de facto standard for aggregating RSS feeds. That’s all well and good. It works brilliantly, and has an API that’s now pretty standard across all the many, beautiful RSS reader apps on the iPhone and iPad. I love consuming RSS feeds on my iDevices. On the iPhone I generally use Reeder, while on the iPad I use a combination of Reeder and Flipboard. My normal workflow involves pre-caching the last unread feeds before boarding the tube, and flicking through the latest posts in order of publication while underground, starring those that deserve further reading. I’ll generally flick through the starred items on the iPad, opening up the original web page where necessary (especially for sites like New Scientist where the RSS feed is particular truncated). But sometimes there’s an embedded Flash video, or a link to an app I want to download on my laptop. It’s then that I’m forced to fire up Google Reader and brave the frankly hideous interface. Google’s web apps have never been pretty, but at least they function pretty well (and hey, GMail’s themes can make it look pretty swish), but Reader is a dog. It’s so, white and blue and just, crappy. Maybe it’s a natural consequence of returning to a simple, garish web-based interface after navigating through the design led, iOS eye-candy of Reeder and Flipboard.

Step forward, then Na Wong. He’s a designer based in Cupertino. As you’d imagine he’s pretty Mac focused, and tends to design extensions mainly for Safari on the Mac. However, he’s adapted his excellent Pure Reader extension to work on Chrome under Windows. And it’s a beauty. Just check out the screenshot above. That’s Google Reader, running on Windows 7, in Chrome. The interface is pretty similar to Reeder on the iPad, and just as beautiful. And what’s more, it actually works. If you’re used to Reeder’s interface, you’ll be quite happy clicking on those subtle little icons on the top left of the screen to access starred and unread posts. This is what web apps should look like.


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Categories: Tech


  1. [Tech] Get Minimalist with Google « TGIGreeny.com - February 11, 2011

    […] already talked about Pure Reeder, a Chrome extension that dramatically reworks Google Reader. Sadly there’s no version of that […]

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