I’ve known about RSS for several years now, but I’ve never really been excited about it. Before now. I knew that you need some kind of aggregator to really take advantage of RSS. Firefox will aggregate RSS feeds into the sidebar. My Yahoo allows users to add RSS feeds as sections to the personal homepage. I tried these technologies, but they never seemed useful to me because, of the ten or twenty web sites I check regularly, I like browsing their pages. So I never took advantage of RSS.
But now I’ve got Google Desktop 2. It includes an RSS aggregator, which it calls Web Clips. It automatically adds RSS feeds from websites you browse. This is good and bad, but it’s so easy to add or subtract feeds, I leave the option turned on.
I knew this was good when I noticed Sports Illustrated articles in the RSS feed. See, ESPN.com is for all intents an purposes my exclusive sports source on the web. But CNN.com is my primary news source. Because Sports Illustrated and CNN are affiliated, big sports stories from SI are often linked to on the CNN.com homepage. So at some point in there I clicked on an SI link. Google Desktop added SI’s RSS feed. An SI article showed up in the Web Clips plugin.
The epiphany wasn’t that I had easier access to another outlet. The epiphany was that I could still visit my favorite sites just like I always did, but easily get updates from sites that I might not visit on a regular basis. I can still enjoy the sites I’ve always enjoyed, and now I get effortless access to the best of sites that I might not otherwise enjoy as much.