November 10, 2008

30 Different Uses for RSS

By Mike Fruchter of (Twitter/FriendFeed)

I'm making an effort to become less reliant on visiting websites for the data I need. Spending a majority of my time in Google Reader, I decided RSS could help me accomplish this task. I no longer have to visit Yahoo to read my horoscopes or sports scores. I now track my Ebay auctions from Google Reader. These are some of the ways I started to recently use and rediscover RSS.

This post touches on 30 different ways RSS can be used.

1) Tabbloid is a "hatchling" project that comes to us from Hewlett-Packard. It's a very simple and useful utility that turns your RSS feeds into a personal magazine via PDF format. You can generate your PDF files on the website, or have them emailed to you.

2) Track deals for hotel and airline fares at Expedia,Travelocity,Orbitz and Kayak.

3) iTunes music store RSS generator allows you to set up notifications based on your genre for new releases, top songs, top albums, featured albums and exclusives.

4) Track your favorite sports team news and game scores at Yahoo Sports. Basketball | Baseball | NFL | Hockey

5) lets you view the latest tracking information from all the major US shipping carriers. No need to go directly to the carrier's website anymore. Get notified when your package tracking information has changed directly from your feed reader.

6) Create customized news feeds and track specific keywords. You can get a feed for any search you do on Google News. First do any search on Google News, then simply use the Atom or RSS link on the left-hand side of your search results page to generate the feed. Here is what my FriendFeed Google news feed looks like.

7) Track your favorite online comics strips. Tapestry Comics maintains an RSS directory of comic strip feeds. Dilbert, xkcd and several hundred more feeds can be found here.

8) Create customized Ebay auction search feeds. Keep track of Ebay auctions with ease.

9) Set up custom feeds for job searches using the Indeed job search engine. As with Google News, the process is the same. RSS job feeds are automatically generated on the search results pages.

10) Get real time reports about current traffic incidents in your area. delivers RSS feeds of traffic information for most major U.S. cities.

11) Be notified of severe weather warnings and advisories for the United States, issued by the National Weather Service.

12) Get notified of the latest movie and dvd releases courtesy of

13) Get notified of current airport delay courtesy of

14) Listen to the President of the United States radio addresses.

15) Get the latest NASA news articles and press releases.

16) Read your Daily Horoscopes.

17) Send RSS feeds to Twitter using TwitterFeed.TwitterFeed is a simple utility that will check an RSS feed for updates and send them to Twitter accordingly.

18) Get notified of RSS feed updates via SMS messages sent to your phone.

19) Convert RSS feeds to audio recordings. You can also subscribe to them as podcasts via iTunes, and download your recordings as an mp3 file.

20) View the latest public pictures being uploaded to Flickr. You can also generate custom RSS feeds based on a multitude of parameters detailed here.

21) Generate custom Picasa RSS feeds for your family pictures. You can also generate feeds from public pictures. All search result pages will generate an RSS feed for that keyword. Here is one I set up for "Dogs."

22) View the real time public Twitter time line. You can also get your Twitter account time line by going to your Twitter profile page. Scroll to the bottom right of your profile page and you will see an RSS link located there.

23) Keep track of your recently played tracks. Replace mfruchter with your user name.

24) Keep track of what you and your friends are bookmarking. If you wanted to find out what Louis Gray has bookmarked recently, you could go to his FriendFeed or Delicious url. Better yet you could check your Google Reader. To find yours or a specific Delicious user's RSS feed, simply goto their Delicious profile page and scroll to the bottom right of the page where you will see an RSS icon. You can also generate custom RSS for specific keywords/tags. All tag search result pages will have a corresponding RSS feed option. Here is one I set up to track of all recent public bookmarks tagged "twitter."

25) Watch the most viewed YouTube videos of the day. You can also customize this to your liking based on this criteria.

26) Keep track of new products on Never miss when new items become available. You can generate an RSS feed for just about any product category Amazon has to offer.

27) Try an RSS feed matching service to find new feeds based on your interests. One that comes to mind is Toluu. Toluu allows you to upload your existing OPML file to their service, they in-turn will match you to new feeds and members who share similar preferences in feeds.

28) View all of your publicly shared RSS items on one web page. This is a great built in feature of Google Reader. Any item you star or share is automatically saved on a public html page that Google generates for you. Here is what my shared page looks like. To see the public page containing your shared items, click the "Shared items" link in your Google Reader. You'll see a list of everything you've chosen to share, along with a link to the page where they are displayed.

29) Use Google Reader as a new tool for microblogging. With the ability to “share” or “share with note" option in Google Reader, you can leave comments and invite conversation on posts you publicly share. Aggregate Google Shared items into a site like FriendFriend, so others can voice their thoughts as well.

30) Get the best of FriendFeed without ever going to the actual site. FriendFeed generates RSS feeds for almost every user function of the site. You can view your mainfeed as well as your, comments and like feeds in Google Reader. Have you created any topical lists? You can get RSS feeds for your lists too. I have found this function particularly useful as I can now track my "social media whales" list in RSS. Often I spend more time in Google Reader then I do on FriendFeed. RSS gives me a backup and safety net, so nothing goes under the radar.

Read more by Mike Fruchter at