RSS Explained and Which App to Use

Several of us know what RSS means, maybe not what it stands for, but we have some general idea. If not, hopefully this will article will help. Don’t worry; I’ll get to my point shortly.  What you should take away from this reading is a clear understanding of what RSS is, why you should subscribe to “feeds” and what application provides the best RSS experience.

What is RSS?
According to Wikipedia,

RSS (most commonly expanded as Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, plus information such as publishing dates and authorship.

Basically, RSS can easily be thought of as a type of “Newsletter” that gives you a digest of information that has been posted to a website such as AndroidGals – this information is then sent directly to your email account – except with RSS instead of the “feeds” being sent to you in the form of an email it goes to a special program, called an aggregator. An aggregator in this case would be an Android app that collects all of your “feeds” and places them in one easy to access location.

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NetaShare, an RSS Aggregator for Android is my personal choice when it comes to reading my RSS subscriptions via my Android phone. I use Google Reader as my method of subscription to sites like AndroidGals. With NetaShare, all I have to do is enter my Google Reader log in information (usually the same log in information as my gmail account) and the app collects all of my subscriptions and puts them in a clean, easy to read format – I can even view pictures that have been applied to each article without having to leave the app and view the article via the Android web browser.

NetaShare downloads up to a 1,000 RSS feeds at once, and stores the information on your phone so that you have the ability to read your subscriptions even when your phone isn’t connected to a data or wireless signal. This is handy when you have to take a long trip and aren’t anywhere near an Internet source.

If you are familiar with how Google Reader works, you’ll be happy to note that you can still star your favorite articles with NetaShare, and accessing the articles on the actual website they originated from is simple – usually with the click of a link or button.

The application has fairly customizable settings, including notifications, scheduled syncing (which is great if you don’t want to manually push content to your phone) and manual syncing – allowing you to completely control when your phone downloads RSS information.

Now that you have a better understanding of what RSS is, and which app to try it out with, go ahead and set up your Google Reader account, subscribe to, and check it out from your phone!

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