What are RSS feeds?

 

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds are free, updated content sent to your computer via the Internet. RSS feeds enable a user to view content from multiple Web sites on one screen, stripped of all site-specific navigation, advertisements, and branding.

For example, a user might visit multiple news sites in any given week to keep up-to-date on recent events. Without RSS, the user must go to each news site individually and find the desired information through each site's own navigation.

With RSS, the user subscribes to each site through the browser's built-in subscription functions, or via a standalone news aggregator (also called a news reader) that may be downloaded and installed. The user can then view the aggregated information through a consistent display that automatically sorts the information according to his or her needs.

When the user opens his or her browser and goes to the RSS view, it automatically downloads the latest information from the subscribed sites. Most RSS browsers also let you search the articles (essentially enabling the user to search across multiple sites), sort by a variety of fields (such as title, date, or author), filter/subset by date or source, and customize the amount of information that displays on screen.

RSS also presents an alternative to receiving notifications via email. Unlike email, RSS feeds don't get filled up with unwanted solicitations.