RSS: Where News Comes to You !!

Posted: October 24, 2006 in Informative

If you are a person who usually gets the latest news headlines online, then you will probably understand what I’m talking about. I used to browse a number of news websites daily to get the scoop of what’s going on in the world. This used to be an easy and straight-forward task. But suddenly, the Internet started growing at an exponential rate. The couple major news websites became tens of them, and some of them are even specialized in specific topics. It became very hard to keep up with everything that is published on different places. Then came the blogs!! Thousand and thousands of different blogs that have really good content. Now it became just impossible to keep up. Browsing each of these websites to read the new articles became a really tedious task, and a waste of time, since not all these articles interest me anyway.

Then I read about RSS. But what is RSS? It is simply a way of getting the news to you instead of you going to look for the news. Most news websites and blogs today offer what is called an “RSS feed”. This is basically the same content that they publish on their website, but in a format that can be pushed to the user. In order to be able to make use of these RSS feeds, the user must have an “RSS reader” (a.k.a. news aggregator). This is a program that keeps checking the feeds for you (instead of you having to do it yourself), and it lets you know whenever there is new content available.

In order to make your RSS reader check a certain feed, you first have to “subscribe” to this feed. The word “subscribe” can be a bit misleading. It doesn’t mean that you have to register or sign up or anything. It only means that you have to get the address of the RSS feed and enter it in your RSS reader, and you’re done!!

Also, because of the current trend to have all the applications online, desktop RSS readers are giving way to online RSS readers. These are websites where you create an account and enter as many RSS feeds as you like, then they get the content from these feeds and display it in their own interface. In other words, instead of going to tens or hundreds of websites to look for news, you get them all in one place. You can also categorize your feeds into different classes and share them with others, etc.

The main two online RSS readers now are Bloglines and Google Reader. Bloglines has been there for some time now, while Google Reader is still new. However, Google Reader seems to be gaining more popularity everyday at the expense of Bloglines (I use Google Reader myself). For a good comparison between the two, take a look at this article.

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