As you can imagine I read through a hefty number of RSS feeds each day… I have around 300 feeds that pull in a couple thousand items every day for me to sift through. It can be quite a chore to get through it all, which is why I’m rather picky when it comes to having a great mobile RSS reader that is able to sync with Google Reader.
On the iOS side I definitely have my favorites which I’ll cover in another article, but on Android I’ve tried out over a dozen different ones before settling on GoodNews. This is a free ad-supported app that you can upgrade for a little over $3 if you want to go ad-free. Personally, the upgrade was a no brainer after I used the app for just a few minutes, but it’s nice that the free version is available with almost the full set of features.
So what makes GoodNews unique? For starters it has, by far, the cleanest interface out of any other RSS reader I tried out. That should be pretty apparent from the two screenshots I included above. The real gem, however, is the customizability. And boy can you customize this app! It has a crazy number of options for things you can change, and many of the various settings can be set on a global level or on a per-feed level (tap-and-hold on a feed to configure the settings for just that feed).
An example of one of my favorite settings is the ability to choose what should happen when one of the feed items only includes a title and no actual content (e.g. my SlickDeals.net feed does that). If it determines that’s the case and you try to view one of those feed items you can tell it to just open the website right away using the internal browser. In most other feed readers you’d have to open the item, see that there is nothing for it to display, and then click a button or link to have it navigate to the site for you to read the actual content. Basically, GoodNews is just saving you an extra step, but you’ll find that that kind of thing quite a bit as long as you take the time to go through all the settings. Plus this is one of the settings you can change on a per-feed basis, which is also useful for sites that don’t provide full feeds.
Oh, and did I mention this has built-in audio podcast support? If you’ve been looking for an app to manage your audio podcasts this will be able to handle that as well.
The one thing I can see people yearning for (that I wouldn’t use) is the ability to see thumbnails from the articles when viewing a list of items in a feed/folder. Some people prefer to have visual guides like that, but personally I’d rather have more of the text on the screen. I think it’s something the developer should probably consider adding as an option since many other apps offer something like that.