By Ayami Tyndall
I still remember the early days of the Internet, when monitors were thicker than a mattress, mice still had balls, and RSS was the coolest new thing on the block. But now, with laser mice and flex-screens, RSS is a standard part of any website, and for good reason. A feed is much easier to track than a website, but even the feeds can become overwhelming, especially if you read more than just a few. And that's where RSS readers come in, and here I'll discuss my two favorite readers, bot available for free for Android.
gReader is one of the most popular Android RSS readers, and for good reason. Start gReader and it will easily link to your google account, even if you've never used it for RSS before. Then you can start adding feeds with the click of a button. gReader has a robust search function which can take keywords, topics or URLs as input and then spit out all the reading material you can handle.
Then, once you've added a feed, you can start reading. Add multiple feeds, and gReader organizes them nicely. You can just view a specific feed, or a unified list of all your content. Articles can be saved, shared, or even tagged for access later. This combined with a feature-rich interface makes gReader great for dealing with a lot of feeds.
However, I do find that gReader suffers a bit when it comes to speed. And that leads me to our second candidate:
Besides a snazzier name, Pulse definitely has some things going for it over gReader. The first thing which should be mentioned is that, for better or worse, Pulse only stores your feeds locally. There is no syncing with Google Reader like gReader. This can be bad, preventing you from keeping your feeds unified across devices and requiring you to re-enter all your feeds on a new device, but some user might prefer to not keep all their feed info on Google's servers. And while I can't attest to the reliability or lack there of in-depthGoogle's reader servers, relying on server hosting always leaves room for failure.
But, back to the topic of Pulse itself. The interface here is a lot slimmer, which can make it easier to jump into for new users. The only buttons are the menu, where you can access settings and toggle showing read articles; the 'gear' menu, which is where you can add, remove and re-order feeds; and the 'me' menu, which let's you hooking into the Pulse servers for easier sharing, but that's option.
While Pulse lack's gReaders in-depth organization, it does sport some nice features. There's no unified feed listing here, but you can put feeds onto Pages, allowing you can separate them into topics or themes. This reader also makes better use of the touch interface on Android devices. Pulling a page down or a feed to the side refreshes them, making it easy to do with one hand. As I said before, Pulse also seems, at lea tot me, to be faster in some ways. Maybe it is because of the server-syncing in gReader, but Pulse fetches feed content faster and the UI moves between entries without the lag I see in gReader.
An RSS reader has a place on every Internet-connected device, especially a smartphone or tablet. If you want Google Reader syncing and tons of sorting features, gReader is your champ. But for a more private, slimmer, and maybe even faster experience, Pulse has got the goods.