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RSS Feeds

RSS icon  
RSS icon

What Is RSS?

RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication' or 'Rich Site Summary', depending on whom you choose to believe. It's a service that enables websites to push content (or 'feeds') out to users and other websites. Users can thus keep abreast of changes to websites without needing to visit them, and website owners can publish content from other websites on their own site by simply clicking a link. Most major news sites such as the BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times and CNN, as well as many other smaller organisations, now provide content in the form of RSS feeds.

How Can I Use RSS?

To use RSS, you'll need a news reader. These come either as web-based services, as part of modern web browsers such as Firefox, Opera and Safari, or as stand-alone applications. A list of popular news readers is provided below.

Depending on your choice, you can then subscribe to the content in various ways, such as dragging the URL of the RSS feed into your news reader or by cutting and pasting the URL into a new feed.

Available Feeds

What News Readers Are Available?

A list of popular readers is provided below, divided into three categories: readers that are available as a service from a website; readers that are part of web browsing software; and readers that work as stand-alone applications. Most are free to use.

Web-based

Bloglines
Straightforward to set up; easy-to-use interface
Free; registration required

Browser-based

inforss (requires Firefox)
This scrolls across the bottom of the browser window, or alternatively provides the option of a popup when a new story arrives
Free

Google Reader
Magazine style RSS application

Stand-alone applications for PC

FeedDemon
Dedicated RSS reader with a slick user interface similar to an email client

Newz Crawler ($24.95)
Dedicated RSS reader, with an email-style interface

Stand-alone applications for Mac OS X

NetNewsWire
Dedicated RSS reader

NewsFire ($18.99)
Dedicated RSS reader