RSS made easy to understand

Jacob Nahin

Some access news by visiting a Web site. Others crash on the couch, consuming 30 second snippets crafted for them by one or two news sources (CNN, Fox News). However, this method of news consumption can skew a reader or viewers perception of the world. There’s a more efficient way to browse the news by consuming it from a variety of sources within the time it takes to watch a one-hour broadcast. It’s called Really Simple Syndication (RSS).

Undoubtedly, your eyes glazed over this acronym,RSS, like a key term in a textbook. After all, should a term with “simple” in the title be so long? So do me a favor, forget the term for the moment and think of RSS as a list of efficiently formatted, easily accessible links to your favorite news sources.

If you have a GMail account, go to Google Reader. Click “Add Subscription” on the left (don’t worry, subscriptions are free) and search for the news sources you want to read. After adding the subscription to Google Reader, you will be able to read and share news, or “feeds” from the center box. Google Reader also allows you to organize your feeds into folders for efficient consumption.

If you have a Blackberry, download Viigo, a free RSS reader that downloads all of your news, blogs and podcasts straight to your phone. Viigo organizes the news you select into different categories such as “Entertainment,” or “Sports.” Viigo also imports any feeds you have already added to Google Reader.

If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, give iNews a try. The free application also syncs with Google Reader thought it lacks Viigo’s organization.