News aggregator

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User interface of the feed reader Tiny Tiny RSS

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. In computing, a news aggregator, also termed a feed aggregator, feed reader, news reader, RSS reader or simply aggregator, is client software or a web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as online newspapers, blogs, podcasts, and video blogs (vlogs) in one location for easy viewing. RSS is synchronized subscription system. Basically, RSS uses extensible markup language (XML) to structure pieces of information to be aggregated in a feed reader that displays the information in a user-friendly interface. The updates distributed include, for example, journal tables of contents, podcasts, videos,and news items.[1]


Visiting many separate websites frequently to find out if content on the site has been updated can take a long time. Aggregation technology helps to consolidate many websites into one page that can show the new or updated information from many sites. Aggregators reduce the time and effort needed to regularly check websites for updates, creating a unique information space or personal newspaper. Once subscribed to a feed, an aggregator is able to check for new content at user-determined intervals and retrieve the update. The content is sometimes described as being pulled to the subscriber, as opposed to pushed with email or IM. Unlike recipients of some push information, the aggregator user can easily unsubscribe from a feed.

RSS uses extensible markup language (XML) to structure pieces of information to be aggregated in a feed reader that displays the information in a user-friendly interface.[1] Before subscribe RSS, users have to install either "feed reader" or "aggregator" applications in order to read RSS feed. The aggregator provides a consolidated view of the content in one browser display or desktop application. "Desktop applications offer the advantages of a potentially richer user interface and of being able to provide some content even when the computer is not connected to the Internet. Webbased feed readers offer the great convenience of allowing users to access up-to-date feeds from any Internet-connected computer."[2] Although some applications will have an automated process to subscribe to a news feed, the basic way to subscribe is by simply clicking on the RSS icon and/or text link.[2] Aggregation features are frequently built into web portal sites, in the web browsers themselves, in email applications or in application software designed specifically for reading feeds. Aggregators with podcasting capabilities can automatically download media files, such as MP3 recordings. In some cases, these can be automatically loaded onto portable media players (like iPods) when they are connected to the end-user's computer. By 2011, so-called RSS-narrators appeared, which aggregated text-only news feeds, and converted them into audio recordings for offline listening. The syndicated content an aggregator will retrieve and interpret is usually supplied in the form of RSS or other XML-formatted data, such as RDF/XML or Atom.


RSS was launched in 1999 "when was first introduced by Internet-browser pioneer Netscape"[2] In the beginning RSS was not a user-friendly gadget and it took some years to convert the technology of news feed commonly spread. "RDF-based data model that people inside Netscape felt was too complicated for end users."[3] The outbreak of RSS began in new era in 2000s, espcecially when the New York Times implemented RSS: "One of the first, most popular sites that offered users the option to subscribe to RSS feeds was the New York Times, and the company’s implementation of the format was revered as the "tipping point" that cemented RSS’s position as a de facto standard."[4] "In 2005, major players in the web browser market started integrating the technology directly into their products, including Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla Foundations Firefox and Apple's Safari." Today, according to 20,516,036 live websites using RSS.[5]


There are 2 types of web aggregators:[6]

  • those that simply gather material from various sources and put it on their web sites;
  • those that gather and distribute content – after completing the appropriate organizing and processing – to suit their customers’ needs;

For instance, Google News belongs to the first group since news are gathered and published independently from customers' needs while Awasu is created as an individual RSS tool to control and collect information according to clients' criteria. The variety of software applications and components that are available to collect, format, translate, and republish XML feeds is a testament to the flexibility of the format and has shown the usefulness of presentation-independent data.

News aggregation websites[edit]

A news aggregator provides and updates information from different sources in systematized way. "Some news aggregator services also provide update services, whereby a user is regularly updated with the latest news on a chosen topic."[6] Websites such as Google News, Drudge Report, CityFALCON, Huffington Post,[7] Fark, Zero Hedge, Newslookup,Newsvine, World News (WN) Network, and Daily Beast where aggregation is entirely automatic, using algorithms which carry out contextual analysis and group similar stories together, while other sites supplement automatically-aggregated stories with manually curated headlines and their own articles.[8]

News aggregation websites began with content selected and entered by humans, while automated selection algorithms were eventually developed to fill the content from a range of either automatically selected or manually added sources. Google News launched in 2002 using automated story selection, but humans could add sources to its search engine, while the older Yahoo News, as of 2005, used a combination of automated news crawlers and human editors.[9][10][11]

Web-based feed readers[edit]

Web-based feeds readers allow users to find a web feed on the internet and add it to their feed reader. Online feed readers include Bloglines, Feedly, Facebook News Feed, Feedspot, FeedRover, Flipboard, Digg, News360, My Yahoo!, NewsBlur,[12][13] and Netvibes. These are meant for personal use and are hosted on remote servers. Because the application is available via the web, it can be accessed anywhere by a user with an internet connection. There are even more specified web-based RSS readers. For instance,a news aggregator created for scientists: "Michael Imbeault, an HIV researcher at the Université Laval in Quebec, launched his fully automated site called e! Science News"[14]

More advanced methods of aggregating feeds are provided via Ajax coding techniques and XML components called web widgets. Ranging from full-fledged applications to small fragments of source code that can be integrated into larger programs, they allow users to aggregate OPML files, email services, documents, or feeds into one interface. Many customizable homepage and portal implementations provide such functionality.

In addition to aggregator services mainly for individual use, there are web applications that can be used to aggregate several blogs into one. One such variety—called planet sites—are used by online communities to aggregate community blogs in a centralized location. They are named after the Planet aggregator, a server application designed for this purpose.

Feed reader applications[edit]

Feed aggregation applications are installed on a PC, smartphone or tablet computer and designed to collect news and interest feed subscriptions and group them together using a user-friendly interface. The graphical user interface of such applications often closely resembles that of popular e-mail clients, using a three-panel composition in which subscriptions are grouped in a frame on the left, and individual entries are browsed, selected, and read in frames on the right. Some notable examples include NetNewsWire, Flipboard, Prismatic, and Zite.[15][16]

Software aggregators can also take the form of news tickers which scroll feeds like ticker tape, alerters that display updates in windows as they are refreshed, web browser macro tools or as smaller components (sometimes called plugins or extensions), which can integrate feeds into the operating system or software applications such as a web browser. Clients applications include Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Office Outlook, iTunes, FeedDemon and many others.

Social news aggregators[edit]

One of the examples of social news aggregators is The website collects the most popular stories on the internet, selected and edited and proposed by a wide range of people. "In these social news aggregators, users submit news items (referred to as "stories"), communicate with peers through direct messages and comments, and collaboratively select and rate submitted stories to get to a real-time compilation of what is currently perceived as "hot" and popular on the Internet."[17] Social news aggregators based on engagement of community. Their responds, engagement level, contribution to stories creat the content and determine what will be generated as RSS feed. Some examples of social news aggregators:, Hacker News etc. More about social news aggregators Social Network Aggregation

Media aggregators[edit]

Media aggregators are sometimes referred to as podcatchers due to the popularity of the term podcast used to refer to a web feed containing audio or video. Media aggregators are client software or web-based applications which maintain subscriptions to feeds that contain audio or video media enclosures. They can be used to automatically download media, playback the media within the application interface, or synchronize media content with a portable media player. Multimedia aggregators are the current focus. EU launched the project Reveal This to embedded different media platforms in RSS system. "Integrated infrastructure that will allow the user to capture, store, semantically index, categorize and retrieve multimedia, and multilingual digital content across different sources – TV, radio, music, web, etc. The system will allow the user to personalize the service and will have semantic search, retrieval, summarization."[6]


"Broadcatching is a promising mechanism to improve the experience of BitTorrent users by automatically downloading files advertised through RSS feeds."[18] Several BitTorrent client software applications such as Azureus, μTorrent have added the ability to broadcatch torrents of distributed multimedia through the aggregation of web feeds. Broadcatching is the ervise for smart TV era. "Broadcatching is the act of downloading TV to be viewed on your computer." Files downloaded from BitTorrent have to be read by special screening tool DiVX/

Feed filtering[edit]

One of the problems with news aggregators is that the volume of articles can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when the user has many web feed subscriptions. As a solution, many feed readers allow users to tag each feed with one or more keywords which can be used to sort and filter the available articles into easily navigable categories. Another option is to import the user's Attention Profile to filter items based on their relevance to the user's interests.

RSS and Marketing[edit]

Some bloggers forecasted about the death of RSS when Google Reader was shuttered.[1][2] Nowadays bloggers announce about the success of RSS and one the most appealing way to get information. "Feedly, likely the most popular RSS reader today, has gone from around 5,000 paid subscribers in 2013 to around 50,000 paid subscribers in early 2015 – that’s a 900% increase for Feedly in two years."[19] Customers use RSS to get information in easier way while business takes advantages of communication what they need to spread. "RSS serves as a delivery mechanism for websites to push online content to potential users and as an information aggregator and filter for users."[20] However, in order to push the content RSS should be friendly-user mechanism to ensure:[21]

  • proactive interaction so that you can remain engaged without feeling trapped
  • exceptional aesthetic design so you won’t be too overwhelmed by stagnant data
  • optimization for both Web and mobile use to maximize overall use

RSS have a positive impact on marketing since it contributes to better search engine rankings, build and maintain brand awareness, increase the traffic of site.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Miles, Alisha. "RIP RSS: Reviving Innovative Programs through Really Savvy Services". Journal of Hospital Librarianship 9 (4): 425–432. doi:10.1080/15323260903253753. 
  2. ^ a b c Doree, Jim (2007-01-01). "RSS: A Brief Introduction". The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy 15 (1): 57–58. ISSN 1066-9817. PMC 2565593. PMID 19066644. 
  3. ^ Hammersley, Ben (2005). Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom. Sebastopol: O'Reilly Media, Inc. ISBN 978-0-596-00881-9. 
  4. ^ "Google Reader is dead but the race to replace the RSS feed is very alive". Digital Trends. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  5. ^ "RSS Usage Statistics". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  6. ^ a b c Chowdhury, Sudatta; Landoni, Monica. "News aggregator services: user expectations and experience". Online Information Review 30 (2): 100–115. doi:10.1108/14684520610659157. 
  7. ^ Luscombe, Belinda (2009-03-19). "Arianna Huffington: The Web's New Oracle". Time (Time Inc). Retrieved 2009-03-30. (subscription required (help)). The Huffington Post was to have three basic functions: blog, news aggregator with an attitude and place for premoderated comments. 
  8. ^ "Google News and newspaper publishers: allies or enemies?". World Editors Forum. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  9. ^ Hansell, Saul (24 September 2002). "All the news Google algorithms say is fit to print". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  10. ^ Hill, Brad (24 October 2005). Google Search & Rescue For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-471-75811-2. 
  11. ^ LiCalzi O'Connell, Pamela (29 January 2001). "New Economy; Yahoo Charts the Spread of the News by E-Mail, and What It Finds Out Is Itself Becoming News.". New York Times. 
  12. ^ "YC-Backed NewsBlur Takes Feed Reading Back To Its Basics". TechCrunch. July 30, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Need A Google Reader Alternative? Meet Newsblur". Search Engine Land. March 14, 2013. 
  14. ^ Butler, Declan (2008-06-25). "Scientists get online news aggregator". Nature News 453 (7199): 1149–1149. doi:10.1038/4531149b. 
  15. ^ Cheredar, Tom (22 May 2013). "Zite’s new iOS app update welcomes (but doesn’t cater to) mournful Google Reader users". VentureBeat. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  16. ^ Dugdale, Addy (14 March 2013). "Google Reader is dead, but Digg, Zite are among these alternatives". Fast Company. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  17. ^ Doerr, Christian; Blenn, Norbert; Tang, Siyu; Van Mieghem, Piet. "Are Friends Overrated? A Study for the Social News Aggregator". Computer Communications 35 (7): 796–809. doi:10.1016/j.comcom.2012.02.001. ISSN 0140-3664. 
  18. ^ Zhang, Zengbin; Lin, Yuan; Chen, Yang; Xiong, Yongqiang; Shen, Jacky; Liu, Hongqiang; Deng, Beixing; Li, Xing (2009-01-01). "Experimental Study of Broadcatching in BitTorrent". 6th IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference, 2009. CCNC 2009: 1–5. doi:10.1109/CCNC.2009.4784862. 
  19. ^ "Is RSS Dead? A Look At The Numbers". MakeUseOf. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  20. ^ Ma, Dan (2012-12-01). "Use of RSS feeds to push online content to users". Decision Support Systems 54 (1): 740–749. doi:10.1016/j.dss.2012.09.002. 
  21. ^ "Google Reader is dead but the race to replace the RSS feed is very alive". Digital Trends. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  22. ^ Hammersley, Ben (2005). Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom. California: O'Reilly Media, Inc. p. 11. ISBN 9780596519001. 

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