What is a FeedReader ?

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Today I am going to review in my opinion most useful and interesting tools that came up with the whole web 2.0 vibe. Anyone spending considerable amount of time on the web can greatly benefit from them. So, to cut to the chase, I will talk about FeedReader, still relatively new and widely unknown to mainstream internet users.

What is a Feedreader ?

Simply, the role of the Feedreader is to gather and display web feeds (data format used for serving users frequently updated infrormation) from various websites in one place. By using feedreader you can have updates from several websites delivered to you, without need to visit each of them indivisually. These updates can be anything from newly published articles, new answers to your questions (Yahoo Answers) or any other text information. Mostly people use them to get daily updates from blogs (like this one) and news from news aggregator sites like Google News.

My Feedreader keeps me up to date on allmost 40 websites. It save me lots of time that I would otherwise spend on visiting each site individually. Tracking News and Articles is one of the most popular ways to use Feedreader, however there is no limit on the kind of information it can track for you.

For instance, a currency exchange website can offer real time feeds (that’s wha goes into your feedreader) on the current exchange rates. Similarly, a soccer website can offer feeds for match scores and etc. When you let your feedreader track some website, there is no need to visit website to check for new items, as soon as there are relevant updates you will get them in your Feedreader.

How to use feedreaders?

Feedreader can be either a web based or a desktop program (like Microsof Outlook). Using feedreader is very simple all you need to do is to add he websites you want to monitor. To add website or service to monitor you need to take following steps;

    1. Clarify that the website syndicate any feeds. Websites that syndicate their content have usually one following or similar icons displayed on the pages.

    2. Click on the icon and you will be taken to the feed page, you need to copy the address of this page to your feed reader and you are done. Ex. If you click on the feed icon on our website you will be taken to the feed page located under http://feeds.feedburner.com/Makeuseof.

    To get updates from our site you need to take this address and copy it to your reader or choose among ones offered right on that feed page. As you can see in the picture below:

    popular web based feedreaders

Most of the web based feedreaders are free. Some of the popular readers are: My Yahoo, Pluck, Bloglines, Netvibes, Google Reader and Pageflakes.

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As for myself I am using netvibes.com, which is also an AJAX home page. As you can see on netvibes.com, it does not only bring new articles and posts to your homepage but can also get emails, pictures, ebay items and much more stuff. If interested check out our netvibes profile here.

Enjoy!

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