What are News Feeds?
News feeds allow you to see when websites have added new content. You can get the latest headlines and video in one place, as soon as its published, without having to visit the websites you have taken the feed from. Feeds are also known as RSS which stands for 'Really Simple Syndication'. In essence, the feeds themselves are just web pages, designed to be read by computers rather than people.
How do I start using feeds?
In general, the first thing you need is something called a news reader. This is a piece of software that checks the feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added. There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a browser, and some of which are downloadable applications.
Browser-based news readers let you catch up with your RSS feed subscriptions from any computer, whereas downloadable applications let you store them on your main computer, in the same way that you either download your e-mail using Outlook, or keep it on a web-based service like Hotmail. Once you have chosen a news reader, all you have to do is to decide what content you want it to receive.
If you click on the RSS button ( or ) you can subscribe to the feed in various ways, including by dragging the URL of the feed into your news reader or by cutting and pasting the same URL into a new feed in your news reader. Most sites that offer feeds use a similar orange button, but some may just have a normal web link.
Some browsers, including Internet Explorer 7, Firefox, Opera and Safari, automatically check for feeds for you when you visit a website, and display an icon when they find one. This can make subscribing to feeds much easier. For more details on these, please check their websites.
How do I get a news reader?
There is a range of different news readers available and new versions are appearing all the time. Different news readers work on different operating systems, so you will need to choose one that will work with your computer.
Using Internet Explorer 7 as a news reader?
If you are using Internet Explorer 7 of higher, you already have a news reader built into your browser. Just click on the orange RSS Feed button () and Internet Explorer 7 will display the feed straight away. You can then easily subscribe to the feed by clicking on the link at the top of the page. To see the feeds you have subscribed to, simply click on the Favorites icon and then on Feeds. Click here for more information on how to use RSS Feeds with Internet Explorer 7.