New Google Reader for iPhone beta, nearly perfect!

oh. SNAP. Just came across the reader post launching their new beta iPhone app. So. My iPhone is, more or less, a $400 Google Reader device. Sure it has some kinda other stuff, I’m not really sure what it is, but it definitely spends a lot of time on Reader. You may recall, that I had some gripes with Reader for the iPhone. This beta addresses most of them, a few niceties that I didn’t mention but falls just shy of iPhone nirvana. iPhonirvana.

First of all, run, don’t walk, on your iPhone to the beta site. You’ll notice that it’s kind of a hybrid between the old mobile site and the full web version. They pretty much ajaxed this bitch up – which makes it a lot faster than the already pretty quick old version. There’s no more full page reloads, when you click into an article it accordions open, just like in the full version. Awesome. Want to star or share something? You click on the stare or share link and it ajaxes without updating the page, the little icon changes to the on mode and you’re done, keep browsing right where you were. When you get to the end of the 15 posts, you click load more and they load in right underneath before your glittering eyes.

It’s like magic. So the beta is much faster on the download time by not forcing all these page reloads and making you hit back in the browser so much. This is noticeably better. Also, they hit another of my gripes by finally letting you view already read posts from any of your feeds, not just starred feeds. So great.

On the flip side, though, they still don’t tell you how many unread you have left as they do on the full site. They tell you how many you already read, which is on some level interesting, but not nearly as worthwhile as knowing how many you’ve got left. Another problem, and hopefully this is just because the feature on the full site is so new – you can’t share with note, you can only share posts regularly. I’m guessing this gets added in shortly. A small final niggle is that the star action is only at the top of a post by the title – often I want to star a post after I’ve read it and sometimes those posts are long and it’s a pita to scroll all the way back up to the top click the star and then scroll back down – they should add star and share with note on second admin row at the bottom of expanded posts.

That’s pretty much it – if they hit those notes it will be about as perfect an online mobile reader as I could possibly want. As it is, it is a great improvement to what was already a perfectly good app. Now if someone’ll come up with an auto-syncing offline Reader client, well, this chinese boy won’t know what to do with himself. Go forth and google read.

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