Google Reader For LiveJournal Users

There’s a new version out: click here!

My previous post reminded me that I’d never gotten around to writing something I’d promised a few of you already: that is, a guide to using Google Reader and LiveJournal together effectively (Google Reader doesn’t support digest authentication, which means that it’s not possible to use Google Reader to pick up, for example, “friends only” posts, so I’ve written a bit of software that bridges the gap).

I’ve used a number of bits of newsreading software over the years before realising that what I really needed was a web-based reader that I could use from “wherever.” I implemented my own, Dog, which worked adequately, but Google Reader has since matured into a wonderful program, and it seemed a waste not to use it.

In case there’s anybody else out there in Abnibland who wants to be able to use Google Reader to centralise all their blog reading into one place and who has LiveJournal friends who make “friends only” posts (it’s nice to have all the comics I read, all the news I’m interested in, and all of the blogs I follow – including those on LiveJournal – integrated into one place with reminders when new stuff appears, searching, etc.), here’s my guide:

Google Reader For LiveJournal Users

  1. You’ll need a Google Reader account – if you’ve got some other kind of Google account (e.g. GMail), just log in, otherwise, sign up for one.
  2. You’ll also need one or more LiveJournal accounts through which you can read the “friends only” posts you’re interested in. Another advantage of this system is that if you have multiple LiveJournal identities you can read the blogs of the friends of both in one place. If you don’t have a LiveJournal account, why are you bothering with this guide? Just go use Google Reader itself like a normal person.
  3. Log in to LiveJournal Feed Fetcher using your LiveJournal username and password. Then, just click on each of the “Add To Google” buttons in turn for each of the friends whose blogs you’d like to syndicate.
  4. Remember to add other people’s (non LiveJournal) blogs to your Google Reader account, too!

Now, whenever you log in to Google Reader, you’ll be presented with the latest blog entries from all of the blogs you read, including “friends only” posts, if available, from your LiveJournal buddies.

Advanced Tips

  • Install the Google Reader Notifier plugin (mirror) for Firefox. This sits in the bottom-right corner of your browser window and lets you know how many new posts you’ve got to read, and provides a convenient shortcut to your Google Reader account.
  • In Google Reader, click Settings, then Goodies. Under “Put Reader in a bookmark” you’ll find a bookmarklet that you can drag to your Firefox Bookmarks Toolbar (or a similar place on the user interface). This will appear by default as a “Next” link that you can click to immediately go to the web page of the next item in your reading list.

I hope this short guide will reduce the demand for further maintenance of abnib help people to get a handle on Google Reader and on reading syndicated LiveJournal blogs. The LiveJournal Feed Fetcher can very be easily extended to cope with similar systems (DeadJournal, etc.), so just let me know if there’s anything it’s “missing.”


  1. The Pacifist The Pacifist says:

    Does this mean I have to remove all the livejournal blogs from Google Reader and then re-add them using lj.abnib?

  2. Dan Q Dan Q says:

    Yes. Otherwise you’ll have two subscriptions – one to “everything”, and one to “public only” – for each person.

  3. Courtney Courtney says:

    Hi–I gave this a try, but it wouldn’t fetch feeds for me. All I got was the helpful greader note: “” has no new items.”

  4. Brian Ballsun-Stanton Brian Ballsun-Stanton says:

    Do you have the source for this available?

  5. Dan Q Dan Q says:

    By popular demand, the source code is now available to download from the site.

  6. Cailin Cailin says:

    I had the same problem as Courtney–when I tried to add the feeds, google reader said: “” has no new items.

    Is there some way to fix this? I’d love to have my LJ feeds in Google reader, but I haven’t found a way to make it work unless this one will.


  7. Dan Q Dan Q says:

    Courtney, Cailin,

    Thanks for your bug reports. I’ve now fixed the bug that was causing you problems; the site should work fine again.

  8. Cailin Cailin says:

    Thanks, that did fix some of the feeds. For some reason, now some of the LJ feeds work while others still throw the no new items error. Not sure what is going on with that, but I’m glad some work!

  9. Brock Brock says:

    Thankyouthankyouthankyou. I have been waiting for this to switch to google reader for their awesome mobile interface.

  10. Dan Q Dan Q says:

    Yeah, that’s exactly what I use it for: Google Reader Mobile rocks.

    As far as the “still broken” feeds are concerned; in my case, these are the ones which do not have me on their friends list (so I could just subscribe to the regular feed, not the “friends only” one). If that’s the case with you, too, great! Otherwise, let me know and I’ll try to fix them, too.

    Either way, I ought to fix the program so that it redirects you if that’s what’s appropriate. Will put some thought into it.

  11. Eric Eric says:

    Does it work for communities? Also, if a username has a underscore in it “_”, LJ converts that to a web address of “-“, so your program breaks when it tries to grab it.


  12. al al says:

    wow, i only -just- realized that i wasn’t getting friends only posts. and i was like, what the? so i googled ‘livejournal protected google reader’ and this blog came up. and i’d just like to say, thanks, awesome, i was really afraid i wouldn’t be able to use google for reading lj stuff anymore.


  13. al al says:

    ack! it doesn’t work for communities? :(

  14. Kate Kate says:

    I’m having the same problem as Courtney et al. Some of the friends feeds I add work, and some show the “” No Items error. But I am on the friends list of these people, so I don’t know why it’s not working?

    I am getting locked entries for the ones it will let me subscribe to, so at least that’s working. :)

  15. Kate Kate says:

    I’m noticing a trend in the friends whose feeds won’t show up on my google reader – most of them are ones who don’t post very often and haven’t posted in a while, could that have something to do with it? Is there a time limit on how far google reader can go back to retrieve posts?

  16. Natalia Natalia says:

    Hallo! I have find your blog via google=) Im wondering can i use, and still keep my friend-filters in Thanks,

  17. Dan Q Dan Q says:


    Yes; no changes are made to your LiveJournal account, and everything you do on LiveJournal (including filters) will remain exactly the same.

  18. Yan Yan says:

    Hello Dan.
    Thank you for your excellent project.
    There is one problem.
    I found that password is being sent non encrypted. May be you can solve that?

    Thank you in advance.

  19. Hi Dan,

    I’ve been shocked and amazed that Google hasn’t provided support for secure posts yet. Thanks so much for creating this!

    If you ever need another tech-minded set of eyes for troubleshooting or testing, just let me know, I’d be happy to help!


  20. Jon Jon says:


    I downloaded the source to put on my own server and discovered a bug.

    The feed links point to and not my own URL. Not a big problem for me, as I could fix it myself. Just thought I should share it with you as well!

    Oh, and thanks for a nice piece of software! :)

  21. Hal Hal says:

    Awesome! Thanks!

    One question/request: is it possible to also add a Livejournal’s comments as a feed?

  22. Cobalt Cobalt says:

    You probably know this already, but your domain’s expired, so the Feed Fetcher no longer works.

    Sorry to see it go, really! I don’t think there was any other alternative out there, and I was finding it really useful to put everything into Google Reader. Thanks for writing this, and hopefully someone else can eventually work out a new version!

  23. Dan Q Dan Q says:

    No, the domain hasn’t expired: it’s just moving home and the DNS hosts have fucked it up. It’ll be back online within a day or so – sorry!

  24. Wringham Wringham says:

    Dude. This is brilliant. Thank you for putting this together.

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