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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