Friday, September 17, 2010

Google Reader in Flipboard

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
As a new owner of an iPad, I was eager to dive in and get to know the device. A number of co-workers had raved about Flipboard, the "personalized, social magazine" app designed for the iPad. Sure enough, it's a really fantastic re-imagining of how we can consume content.

Briefly, here's what Flipboard does: you point it to your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts, or you pick from a number of categories of content. In each case, Flipboard then monitors the section for links to web content -- YouTube videos, news articles, blog posts, comments -- and then formats that content for display in the Flipboard app much like a magazine page.

The result is an always-current, personally-targeted stream of news that is downright enjoyable to skim.

Just one problem: for the last four years, I've relied on an app that makes consuming content enjoyable (and efficient): Google Reader. Surely I could connect Flipboard's presentation up to Google Reader? While that's apparently the most requested feature for Flipboard (we geeks are a predictable lot), it's not something that's natively supported. So I hacked something together this morning that actually works...

Make your Reader folder public

Go to "Manage Subscriptions", check the box next to the folder you want to read in Flipboard, and then select "Public" in the "Change sharing" drop-down.

Burn your feed

Visit the public page for your Reader folder, grab the feed URL and go to FeedBurner. Paste the feed URL in, set up a FeedBurner feed.

Set up a dedicated Twitter account

Since I wanted to read my tech blogs in Flipboard, I created a new Twitter account called @rklautechfeeds.

Socialize your feed

In FeedBurner, click "Publicize" then "Socialize", and connect your feed to your Twitter account. As your feed gets new items, they will get added to the FeedBurner feed, and as FeedBurner sees new items it will push them to Twitter.

Follow your Twitter account in Flipboard

Last step: in Flipboard, click "add a section", "add a custom section" and then type in your Twitter account (in my case, @rklautechfeeds).

Now each time I launch Flipboard, I see my Google Reader "technology" folder, formatted as a Flipboard channel.

It's a hack, to be sure - but until they natively support Google Reader I think it'll do. I'll set up similar feeds for a couple of the other folders I read a lot in Reader, and look forward to when I can retire the hack. :)
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  1. Oooh! I wonder if this could work for Tumblr....

  2. thank you
    I live FlipBoard on my iPad to read my facebook and twitter profile
    and I use Google Reader to read a bunch of rss/s and blogs
    but I dod not that I can use FlipBoard to read all blogs I subscribed in GReader
    Its is so amazing!!!!

  3. Just wondering, Rick. Have you tried the "Reeder" app? (

    It's not as cool an interface as Flipboard, but for integrating G-Reader into the iPad, it's a nice app with lots of options built in that help one share, cut/paste, send to evernote or instapaper -- stuff I like to do when "processing" things I've subscribed to via: RSS and Google Reader.

    Besides, I'm not sure I want to make all of my followed feeds "public" as some of them are business-oriented, and I may not want everyone to know that I'm reading up on a competitor or a new business opportunity topic.

    Nevertheless, I'm going to try the Rick-Hack out with some feeds and see what I think. Thanks for sharing.

  4. @Rex: haven't tried Reeder yet, but will. Part of what intrigues me about this is how different my consumption experience is when reading via Flipboard vs. reading on my Mac through Reader directly.

    Flipboard really have nailed the casual consumption model.

  5. I LOVE you for this one. GREAT idea.

  6. This is great. Thanks for getting the word out.

  7. Loving the idea, shame it's such a roundabout way of doing it

  8. Thank you Rick! Great hack and really useful! Love it.

  9. I was somewhat disappointed to find that this feature was missing. No longer... Thank you very much!!!

  10. Didn't work for me....I can't add the twitter account to feed burner. Every time I authorize in twitter and tries to redirect me back to feed burner, it's unable to do so.