Gruml is a Google Reader for Mac.  It is currently in beta, so all the bugs aren’t completely worked out.  But Gruml is a very capable feed reader with lots of great integrated social features.

Gruml is easy to set up.  As soon as you open the app you are prompted to enter your Google Reader log in details.  The app then loads up your feeds super fast with folders and everything else intact.  Your feeds are constantly synchronized with your Google Reader account.

You can link Gruml with a whole host of social sites including Digg, Diigo, Delicious, Evernote, Facebook, Instapaper, MySpace, ping.fm, Posterous, ReadItLater, Reddit, Stumbleupon and Tumblr.  Plus, you can instantly tweet any article and the URL is automatically shortened for you.

The interface is made up of three panes:  the sidebar with all of your feeds, folders, and tags; the article list pane, which lists all of your unread feeds in bold along with author, date, feed source, etc.; and the preview pane which shows a preview of the active feed. You can choose between two layouts. The first arranges the three panels in vertical columns.  

The second places the preview panel underneath the feed panel.  I prefer the latter because it allows you to see all of the columns in the article list view whereas the vertical style obscures them.To see the entire article, simply double click on a feed title.  A tab opens above the article list pane which you can then click to view the article.  I found this a little cumbersome since it requires an extra click—usually when you double click on something, a window opens immediately for your viewing pleasure.  Gruml does open a window but it’s not immediately obvious that you have to click on the tab in order to see it.  The nice thing about this is that you can go through your entire list of feeds, double click on the ones you’d like to view in full, and then come back to read them later.

The coolest thing about Gruml is its social interface.  You can send any item to any social network with the click of a button—just drag the network icons you want into your toolbar and click away. Also, if you use Blog Thing, ecto, MarsEdit, or XJournal, you can post items directly to your blog. Gruml also supports posting notes to Google Reader.

Another great feature of Gruml is that when you click the menubar icon, a drop down window appears listing your most recent feeds.  This makes all your feeds instantly accessible, even when you’re not in Gruml proper.

Initially, I was a little put off by Gruml’s tiny fonts, especially in the feed pane.  However, you can enlarge the font in the preview pain using Command-+, and in Preferences you can choose the font and font size for the feed management pane and the current feeds pane.  My middle-aged eyes were much happier when I increased the font size!

If you’re looking for a dedicated Google Reader for your Mac, take a look at Gruml.  The download is free while the app is in beta, and the developers are obviously open to feedback and bug reports.

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