Feed your news demon

Although FeedDemon remains one of the best desktop RSS and Atom feed catchers, this latest version contains many changes, some of them controversial.

Long thought of as one of the best RSS and Atom feed readers around, FeedDemon 3.1 is a good effort to move beyond some of the controversial changes that were implemented during the upgrade to version 3. This latest update includes multiple new features, although we found that performance hadn't changed much.

FeedDemon has dumped its proprietary online synchronization site, newsgator.com, in favor of syncing with Google Reader. New users won't notice, but older users are likely to lose many unread feeds since Google can't import feeds with more than 10 unread items. Once synced, unread items can number more than 10 items again. There's also a new, persistent ad placed in the lower left corner of the interface that goes away when you buy a $10 license. FeedDemon's performance could be a lot better--its RAM usage was hefty and even 3GB of RAM didn't prevent occasional program hang-ups. FeedDemon's database can be massaged into being a bit quicker by regular compacting, but that extra step is cumbersome.

The new features list is mostly about bringing FeedDemon into parity with Google Reader, although that's not necessarily a bad thing. The program has relied on Google for online syncing since version 3, and now includes on-the-fly item translation, a "Shared by people I follow" for syncing shared Google Reader items, and a "like" icon that must be enabled in the new option for customizing item icons. More short URL previews are supported than before, you can automatically mark incoming items read on a per-feed basis, and the Send To option now includes Twitter. Still, FeedDemon remains a favored option for desktop feed management.

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