Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Google please don't stand in the way of innovation.

Google Reader is a really cool web application. I use it myself and I like it very much. Over the last couple of month I have been working on a Cocoa based news reader for Mac OS X. I have not yet released it because we are still working on the design. But this it how it looks:

Screenshot Headline.png

Yes, the application is living in the menu bar. But it can also be used as a window based application:

Screen shot 2010-08-18 at 10.46.41 .png

But the most important part about this news reader is that it is integrated into Mac OS X very well. In fact the application is just a PubSub front end. PubSub is a framework provided by Apple that is managing a system wide database that knows which applications have subscribed to which feeds. This has some nice side effects. If you read something in our application it is also marked as read in another application (Mail, Safari) that is subscribed to the same feed (and vice versa). When we started developing the application one of our goals was to support Google Reader. The basic idea was to sync your whole PubSub database with Google Reader. This would automatically sync all PubSub-enabled applications with Google Reader. Even if one or more of these apps do not even know what Google Reader is.


To say it again: This would enable every app that uses PubSub to automatically sync with Google Reader. There are already a lot of apps that make use of PubSub: Mail, Safari, Xcode, Times, our app, .... It is very easy to adopt PubSub. The problem is that Google has not yet released an official API for Google Reader. There exists an unofficial documentation and there are many apps that are using Google Reader today. They all rely on a private API that is not documented very well. We have decided not to support Google Reader in any form because of that. I would love to see a public API. Then we would have a Google Reader Sync Agent in weeks. This sync agent would be so cool in my opinion.


1 comment:

  1. I would pay real money for something that would sync PubSub with Google Reader. I currently have these "two RSS worlds" — on the Mac, everything syncs with PubSub. On the iPhone, everything syncs with Google Reader.

    One small point: Times is no longer based on PubSub. Earlier versions were, but not the current one.

    And another thing: Feeds subscribed to using PubSub-based readers are also automatically synchronised over MobileMe.