Desktop Google Reader: brings Google Reader to the desktop, integrates with Read it Later, Instapaper, and Twitter


Desktop Google Reader is a free app that can launch your Google Reader feeds right on the desktop, including popup notifications for new posts in the system tray.

What’s interesting about this particular app is that it offers both “Read it Later” and “Instapaper” integration, allowing you to quickly add posts or items from your Google Reader account to any of these services (it also adds a Tweet button for quick broadcasting over Twitter as well as a quick “Email it” button).

If you’d like to use Google Reader on the desktop there may be a handful of desktop-based apps out there for you to choose from; however, if you also use Read-It-Later or Instapaper, then you should definitely check Desktop Google Reader out.

Desktop Google Reader integrates Read-It-Later and Instapaper by simply placing buttons for these in the toolbar of the viewing area. If you find something you like that you would like to flag for later reading simply click on the appropriate icon. Google already employs a “star this” option, it is true, but now you can combine your Read-It-Later or Instapaper flagged items from your regular browsing activity with items in Google Reader, to create a single unified stream.

Here are some Desktop Google Reader PROs and CONs

PROS: (what I like about this app)

  • The interface: is simplicity itself: which is a big plus as far as I am concerned
  • Can quickly add to Instapaper or Read-It-Later: it will automatically log into these services for you.
  • Can quickly email or Twitter posts: straight from the interface.
  • Google Reader Desktop notification popupsSystem-tray popup notifications: can be enabled. Also offers Snarl support, whereby the notifications can look much prettier than the screenshot I have here.
  • Tags: lets you quickly add Google Reader tags to posts.


  • Does not display feeds organized by folder: which is very strange and unfortunate since I spent a long time organizing my feeds into folders.
  • The integrated browser suppresses the context menu: i.e. will not let you right click to open a link in a new window, which can be very un-intuitive.
  • A few interface issues: the “mark as read” green arrow button looks like it should open the item for you. Also, it is not possible to mark an individual story as read without actually opening it in the integrated browser. Last gripe: it can be hard to identify the RSS feed you are browsing vs. the others as the active one is very clearly marked as such on the left sidebar. I’ve had a few “where the hell am I moments”.

The verdict: as a desktop-based Google Reader client Desktop Google Reader is excellent. However, if you use both Google Reader and Read-It-Later (and/or Instapaper), like I do, you will simply LOVE this.

This software can be better though and I am hoping it will be continually developed, but as it stands today it is excellent.

Version Tested: 1.3

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7. Requires MS .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 6.2 megs).

  • What I need is a reader that will allow me to filter out anything containing “Steve Jobs,” “Apple,” “iPad,” “iPhone,” “iPod,” or any other word indicating that it’s a post for and by douches.

  • Samer

    I hear ya 😉

  • Joe

    I know you said that there are “a handful of desktop-based apps to choose from”, but FeedDemon, with its Google Reader synchronization option, does quite a few of the things you like about this program, plus fixing some of the cons:

    It has integrated email, Instapaper, and Twitter (in the dropdown of the “send to” button). There’s no equivalent option for Read-It-Later”, but you could alternatively email the link to Read-It-Later

    It also shows the same folder structure as in GReader and has none of the other UI quirks that you mention, plus many other features.

    • Samer

      @Joe: I had no idea FeedDemon offered Google Reader integration. That’s great to know, thanks!

  • I second FeedDemon. Changing to Google Reader for online part added quite a bit of steam to its feature set. My only gripe with it is performance (I am subscribed to ~200 feeds), it is disk-intensive. Moving to SSD had kinda resolved it for me. 🙂

  • Thanks for mentioning my tool. Will for sure add the missing stuff (mainly folders and views for read and starred items) in the upcoming 2.0 which I will start work at as soon as my Winslew 1.3 hits the road (which is planned next weekend ;))