News Column

After Google Reader Demise, Other RSS Feeds Step Up

April 3, 2013

Jan Ungruhe, dpa

google reader, replacements

Berlin (dpa) - Time is money, and people who get daily information from a number of sources on the internet have to invest their fair share of time while managing a long list of bookmarks.

RSS feeds take away the work for users and automatically provide them with their news quicker and easier.

The RSS sector has been in turmoil since Google announced last month it would be shutting down its Google Reader software on July 1 this year. Users are now busy looking for alternatives.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it sifts through all of the articles on websites to which the user subscribes. There's no need to spend time looking for new entries on blogs or news portals.

"With RSS feeds, you save the time it takes to surf all the websites individually," said Sascha Friesike from the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society.

In addition, only text and pictures are transmitted. Banner advertisements, pop-up windows or animated advertising graphics are not transmitted via RSS.

The only thing the user needs is an RSS reader, a program that reads and displays the feeds.

"If sites are subscribed, the software regularly checks if new articles are available and downloads the new material," said Manuel Fischer from IT association Bitkom.

Even after the demise of Google Reader, there will still be different ways to read an RSS feed.

The option of reading RSS feeds is already integrated in most common browsers and email applications.

The advantage of a web reader like Netvibes is that RSS feeds can be called up at any desired computer and additional software is not needed.

External programs can also be used to read and manage a user's feeds. Many programs like FeedReader and RSS Bandit are free and folders to sort specific feeds can be created, just like in web readers.

Most of the apps which are based on the same principle are also free. They are not just practical and time-saving, but they are also appealing optically.

Flipboard for example has a newspaper style design which integrates various social media such as Facebook and Twitter, making it essentially a user-edited magazine. Other free alternatives such as Feedly and Flud News work under the same principle.

Some apps offer additional functions such as saving an article. That allows users to continue reading articles on the go even if no internet connection is available.

RSS feeds can be spotted by the orange and white symbol with two quarter circles and a dot. Most websites have an RSS feed button at the top of their pages. Links will pop up which can be copied and pasted into your favourite RSS reader.

Users can request either all of the articles on a website be included or only certain subjects such as politics, sports or culture.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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