Feedly enhances your Google Reader experience

Essentially, Feedly wraps your Google Reader in a neat, feature-rich package.

Essentially, Feedly wraps your Google Reader (download) in a neat, feature-rich package. It's much easier on the eyes than the bare-bones Google Reader app, and it plays nicely with a whole lot more third-party services.

When you first launch the Feedly app, it opens up directly to featured content. That's because it comes preloaded with RSS feeds from many of the Web's most popular sites. These preloaded "Essentials" cover a number of verticals such as technology, design, and business. This means that even without syncing with your Google Reader account, you can enjoy RSS feeds through Feedly. Also, Feedly comes with a "Save for later" function and a History record, both of which are really handy.

Though Feedly is not at all difficult to use, it may take you a few minutes to orient yourself at first launch, especially with some of the gesture shortcuts. To get started, you should know that there are two views to shuttle between: feed view and article view.

The feed view presents previews of all the articles in your Google Reader grouped by source, with each preview showing a headline, short description, and thumbnail image if available. For sources that are more image-heavy, the previews are presented in a grid, while the rest are shown in a list. However, you can customize this as you see fit. To move between the different preview pages, swipe left and right. By default, articles will not be marked as read until you tap through, so swiping through previews has no consequences. But again, you can customize this. Also, there are a few gestures that make navigating the feed view easier. Tap to the right of a headline to instantly mark it as read, or to the left to save for later. Swipe down a page to mark all as read or up to undo the action.

If you tap on an item from the feed view, you are brought to the article view. Here, Feedly's built-in browser displays a trimmed-down version of the article, with all essential text and images, but none of the ads or sidebar widgets. If you want to see the full site, just tap on the link at the bottom of the article. Meanwhile, at the top of each article, there are a few essential functions for your convenience. There are buttons to Like an article, share it via Twitter, or add to your Read It Later list. Tap the More icon to open the article in a different browser, copy the URL, or share via any of your device's installed applications. Unfortunately, there is no Facebook or Google+ integration as of yet.

Overall, we love Feedly's clean and simple user interface. It makes for a much more enjoyable reading experience than Google Reader. Plus, Feedly supports plenty of third-party services, including Twitter, Bitly, Instapaper, and Read It Later. If you log serious hours reading RSS feeds, we highly suggest this download.

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