RSS feeds and feed readers are the best tools we have for managing and keeping up with information overload these days, and Google Reader is one of the very best (and most popular) feed readers. Byline is a native iPhone app that lets you stay in sync with all your Google Reader feeds and read them offline. It's also simple to set up; just give it the e-mail account you use with Google Reader, let it do an initial sync of your feeds, and you're ready to go.
Byline keeps your read, unread, and "starred" items in sync with Google Reader (so changes are reflected when you access Reader from another Web browser). Its interface is fairly basic, displaying summary headlines and short summaries of the article. Syncs of new items are relatively quick, and most everything you do in the app is snappy and responsive.
The best trick up Byline's sleeve is its offline handling of starred items and Notes. Anything you add to these areas in Google Reader (within Byline or from a browser) is made available offline as a full page within Byline. These items are displayed within Byline's own mini-browser, which lets you use all the standard iPhone double-tap and pinch to zoom actions on them.
Byline is a great iPhone companion tool if you're an RSS fan and a Google Reader user. It works well, and the offline rendering of starred items and Notes pages is excellent. This first version is a little bare on features. For example, it does not have the ability set how many items are displayed or to view individual feeds rather than all items, and it can't share items. Hopefully, more features will be added in future updates. Still, it's a very worthwhile first version as is.
- Phantom Fish