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About RSS and how to use RSS found at SearchReturn:

What's RSS?

Try thinking of RSS as a website news feed. Most RSS takes the form of news items from Blogs or news sites like the BBC. RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication, and syndicate is what news naturally wants to do. RSS is handy for distributing timely content like the news. If you regularly visit BBC news on the Web, you will see they have RSS as one of their distribution formats.

What can RSS do for me?

RSS is a website feed that allows you to pull content to your computer, rather than having to surf to it manually. It makes getting headlines really simple. With a feed reader, (free major browsers either support it now, or plan to in future versions), subscribe to a feed by importing the url with your reader. Firefox calls feeds "Live Links," while Opera calls them Feeds. Internet Explorer started support for feeds in IE version 7, which is now in beta and will ship with the release of Vista.

What's cool about RSS?

Getting your BBC news by RSS is way easier than visiting the website and foraging the headlines. RSS feeds are like neat bookmarks to BBC news stories that show up like email. You save time by only visiting the stories that grab your interest, and disregard the rest. Why waste time surfing the news when it can be fed to you?

What's the RSS reader?

The software that displays RSS feeds that interest you. The Opera and Firefox browsers ship with native RSS support. They detect RSS and provide options for you. Opera support is easy, neat, and clean. Firefox can easily be upgraded with a quality RSS extension like Sage. If you are using Firefox, go to the tools menu, and click to install extensions. Look for Sage in the "News Readers" category. RSS in IE7 is also quite nice.

Are there any dedicated readers?

Stand alone RSS readers exist. These can be another great way to collect RSS feeds. Notable online RSS readers include NewsGator and Bloglines. Yahoo! has personalized homepages where you can subscribe to RSS and the page pulls the RSS into your display for you. Look for links to "MyYahoo!." There is desktop software you can use. We really like SharpReader for Windows. For a rundown of RSS readers, (notably missing browser reviews), check out this RSS reader article by Chris Sherman.

What do you recommend?

We recommend you give Firefox and Sage a whirl, Opera or an online service like NewsGator or Bloglines. Future IE7 may be a good bet, but it's not that great right now.


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