Recently, I wrote a review of RSS Bandit, a very cool feed reader with the ability to pull in email feeds from Gmail accounts. It doesn’t use POP access, instead it utilizes the authenticated Atom feed that Google provides to all Gmail users. This is awesome, but once again it made me regret ever signing up for a free Yahoo account, because it’s once again left out in the cold. No matter what, I always have to go back to the online Yahoo email system to check those emails. In a Web 2.0 world, Yahoo Mail feels so disconnected from everything.
After writing the RSS Bandit article, I realized that if there’s some way I could convert my free Yahoo email account into an RSS feed, I’d have an instant connection to that free email account without the need for a POP connection. It actually didn’t take very long to discover YmailFeed, an awesome free service hosted on Google AppSpot (ironically) that lets you convert your free Yahoo email account into an RSS feed.
Setting Up Your Yahoo Email RSS Feed
The first thing you’ll need to do to set up your Yahoo Mail as an RSS feed is to visit YmailFeed, sign up for your free account, and then click on “Start the Process“.
You’re then taken to your Yahoo account sign-in page. This is a legitimate Yahoo sign-in, it’s not a scam! YmailFeed is not collecting your login information, you simply need to log into your account so that the YmailFeed system can retrieve a unique key associated with your authentication.
This is similar to when you give external applications permission to access your Facebook account. Likewise, by logging into your Yahoo account, you are “approving” that YmailFeed can access your incoming email. To hammer this home, Yahoo requires that you sign off on this request, since you’re basically opening up your email account to a third-party app that is going to convert your incoming mail into a feed format.
Once you agree, your account is active and all new, unread email is converted into a feed. You can see a preview of that feed in the left window in your YmailFeed account. You have three important links at the bottom of the next screen, which is basically the feed for your free Yahoo email account. If that URL is ever compromised and falls into the wrong hands, just click on “Regenerate the Codes” and a new set of feed URLs is provided – the old ones will be disabled.
Three types of feeds links are provided, AutoDiscovery, a standard RSS Feed and an ATOM feed. Now that I’m using RSS Bandit, which can handle AutoDiscovery, I just initiate a new feed and add the feed under my existing email group. The feed shows up under “Feed Details” just like any other regular RSS feed.
The way RSS Bandit handles it when you click on the email itself is that it opens up a direct link to Yahoo Mail within the lower content panel. Another cool way to make use of your Yahoo feed is by clicking that little “Netvibes” link on the YmailFeed page with your feed URLs. In just two clicks, you can add an awesome Yahoo mail widget to your Netvibes account.
Getting Yahoo Mail loaded into my private Netvibes dashboard is something that I haven’t been able to get working for a long time, but now with YmailFeed, it works like a charm.
If you just want to get your most recent Yahoo mail in Google Reader, simply add the RSS Feed from your YmailFeed account and you’ve instantly connected Google Reader to your Yahoo inbox. Now, how cool is that?
In fact, having your free Yahoo inbox as an RSS feed like this opens up a whole world of possibilities. You could install the GreatNews RSS Filter and use it to analyze all incoming Gmail and Yahoo email and send you alerts. Rather than setting up filters in all of your email accounts, you can process all incoming email in one place.
Can you think of other cool ways you can make use of your Yahoo email RSS feed? Share your ideas and insight in the comments section below!
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