Yahoo yesterday announced the extension of the company’s Really Simple Syndication (RSS) platform. The company has added RSS feeds in the new version of Yahoo Mail, which is currently in beta testing.
RSS is a technology that helps users keep track of their favorite syndicated content from across the Web, including news sites and Web log (blog) feeds.
“We’re expanding upon Yahoo’s significant leadership in RSS by integrating it right into the world’s most popular Web mail service,” said Ethan Diamond, director of product development, Yahoo Mail. “By adding feeds to Yahoo! Mail, we will introduce RSS technology to a more expansive consumer base than ever before.”
A Critical Component
With the addition of the integrated RSS reader, Yahoo Mail now offers consumers access to breaking news, blog entries, and other feeds directly in their Web mail box.
Jason Dowdell, who operates MarketingShift, the blog focused on media research and technology, told TechNewsWorld that RSS feeds are critical to online news sites and bloggers alike.
“Feeds are the best of XML and content all wrapped into a single file … easily consumed, on demand, and highly targeted,” Dowdell said.
Yahoo’s new mail feature brings together online content from an unlimited number of sources, according to the company, and makes it easy to forward select news clips and blog postings to friends and co-workers, or file for future use.
All Feeds All the Time
Here’s how it works: Yahoo Mail Beta users will be able to read RSS feeds by clicking on a new “All Feeds” icon, which will appear below the user’s e-mail folders. The feature will automatically provide users with access to full posts — whether from their personalized My Yahoo page, a selection of the most popular feeds, or favorite feeds that they manually enter.
The “All Feeds” feature offers users the ability to read and digest all open content sources in one continuous stream of news. For instance, if the user selects feeds from three newspapers, two blogs, and one sports site, “All Feeds” will automatically aggregate these updates into one chronologically ordered digest.
Yahoo said “All Feeds” is a way for users to read and interact with the news and information that matters to them, offering Yahoo Mail Beta users the opportunity to read, forward, print, file and save any RSS-enabled content.
Yahoo also launched RSS feed alerts in beta to help people keep track of timely updates from their favorite feeds via their mobile phone, Yahoo Messenger or with any e-mail client they use.
With this new option, Yahoo said consumers can create alerts for anything that has an RSS feed today — making millions of feeds more accessible however users want to consume them.
For example, consumers will be able to set up alerts and receive brief summaries when a player on their fantasy football team is injured, their niece adds to her holiday shopping Wish List, their ideal apartment becomes available, or when their best friend posts to his or her blog.
Yahoo vs. Google
Do the expanded RSS tools help Yahoo compete with Google’s Gmail and others? Absolutely, say analysts like Dowdell.
“Yahoo is already competing and much more diversified than Google,” Dowdell said. “Yahoo only get approximately 30 percent of its revenues from paid search listings whereas Google generates the vast majority of their revenue from paid search.”