GRUML – RSS Feed Reader Review

Image representing Gruml as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

When I looking around in Evernote’s “Trunk” (their link to other services that work well with Evernote), I came across something Called Gruml, which is a desktop RSS reader that syncs with Google Reader.  I have been using Google Reader as my primary RSS since I discovered it and have loved it ever since.

The biggest problem that I have had with gReader is that it is not readily available offline and this is where Gruml comes in.  It is desktop software that syncs directly with Google Reader and allows you to read your gReader feeds offline.  It also keeps a local copy of the feed available in your desktop, so you can search for information within Gruml.

Product Name: Gruml – Google Reader for Mac OS

Company Name: Gruml is a trademark of Andreas Schwelling, registered in Germany and other countries.
Type: Desktop Software
Website:  http://www.grumlapp.com/
Company Product Description:
“Gruml allows you to view and manage your feed subscriptions of your Google Reader account on Mac OS X.  Read your newsfeeds, manage them in folders, tag them, and much more – all in sync with your Google Reader account.”  Taken from http://www.grumlapp.com/
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Along with manage folders, post notes, and works with Snow Leopard.
Below is a screen shot of how Gruml main screen looks.
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As you can see it looks very similar to Apple Mail and definitely looks like an Apple Native product.

How much does it cost? Right now it is in beta and is free.  I don’t know what will happen when it comes out of beta.
Is this the first time reviewing this product: I have never reviewed Gruml before.
Do my students have easy access the product? No this is a download and most of my students have not been shown the benefits of RSS.
Do I currently use Gruml in my classroom? No I haven’t introduced my students to RSS feeds yet.
Is Gruml intuitive and easy to use or is there a steep learning curve? I found Gruml to be very intuitive and easy to setup.  The layout is very similar to Apple Mail, so if you are comfortable with that layout, it is very easy to use.  However, it took a little bit to get used the gReader opening a post in a tab beside the list at first, which is not how Apple Mail opens up, but now that I am more used to it, I do like it.

How does Gruml apply to Special Education? It does not apply direction to Special Education, but more as a way to receive new information/news from the Maine Department of Education via their RSS feed or from the Federal DOE.  I use my Google Reader to subscribe to several Special Education focused blogs that have helped me learn more about different topics and information related to Special Education.  Gruml will allow Special Educators view their RSS feeds when offline or whenever they choose to use it.

What I like: I like that Gruml does allow you to read your Google Reader feeds offline.  Also sometimes, I don’t really like the Google interface and having an alternative that looks native to the Mac is nice.  Being able to click a button to post an interesting feed to Twitter, Facebook, Evernote or other services quickly and easily is something that Google Reader doesn’t really have and you need to have it setup in your browser.  The ability to open a post in a tab inside of of Gruml and it shows the webpage view of the post not just the text is a feature that sets it apart from some other RSS feed readers.

What I don’t like: I am not sure yet, Gruml has been very stable, however, its website claims that you can post to a blog, but I haven’t figured that one out yet, but I am sure that I will.  I guess the one thing I don’t like is the name, Gruml just doesn’t do anything for me and it doesn’t help describe what Gruml does.
What are the other options/programs that do the same function that I have used, how does Gruml compare to those? Apple Mail RSS reader, and some over on the Windows side of things, but I have been so happy with Google Reader that I haven’t really looked around to see what else there is for a couple of years. I like Gruml much better than Apple’s RSS reader and where it syncs directly with Google Reader, which makes it a nice offline complement to something that I use everyday.

The reality is that I do like Google Reader as my RSS Feed Reader and for a while it was available offline using Google Gears and Firefox, but I don’t use Firefox anymore, so for the most part I have had to rely on Internet availability if I want to read my RSS feeds.  Now I don’t have to worry about this and the best thing is that while I am reading my feeds in Gruml they are also being marked as read in gReader. This way I don’t have to worry about my Google Reader having hundreds of unread feeds, when I have already read them

Recommendation: Overall, I have been very impressed with Gruml so far and would recommend it as another tool in the toolbelt, especially if you do not always have access to your Google Reader online.  I found it to be well developed and for a Beta release very stable.  Gruml might even replace Google Reader as your primary RSS Reader, even though it is the same information, just a different way of viewing it.  Try it you might just like it.