The Android OS is one of the two most popular operating systems used on mobile devices. As these devices are considered to be smart, they have many uses beyond simple calling and texting. One of the more popular uses for the devices is to read the news or catch up on blogs you follow. One way to do this is through the use of RSS Readers on your Android device.
You’ve probably seen a dark orange icon with a white dot and three semi circles around it on many websites before. This is an RSS icon, it tells the viewer that they can use a RSS Reader to view updates made to the website.
RSS, RSS Feed or RSS Reader?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a Web format that’s used to deliver standardized content. The RSS format is typically used for content that’s updated frequently and includes blogs, news and videos.
An RSS Feed is the term that’s applied to documents that use the RSS format. Information typically includes partial or full text, author’s details, published location and date published. From the content producer’s side, it’s an easy way for them to publish their information, say an article, once and have it reach a wide number of users without subsequent re-publishing. For users, articles are all in the same format which makes it easier to read and view large amounts of info at once.
If you were to look at an RSS Feed of a website, all you’d see is a bunch of code. To make the RSS Feed useful, you need an RSS Reader, a piece of software that turns RSS Feeds into something you can read. The cool thing about RSS Readers is you can subscribe to a near limitless number of feeds. This means you can quickly read news and posts without having to visit separate sites. Reading RSS Feeds is simple on Android, and can be done with these apps:
- Google Reader. Google Reader is a cross platform RSS Reader that allows you to quickly subscribe to RSS Feeds and read them on your phone. As this is a Google app, it’s integrated with your Google account, and many Android users probably have this app already installed. The best thing about this app is you can subscribe via the Web app, and access it on your phone. Free from the Google Play store.
- Google Currents. While not a full-on RSS Reader, this app works in conjunction with Google Reader to present your RSS Feeds in a magazine style. Beyond that, there’s also a growing collection of popular blogs that you can sign up to. You can also sign up to other websites with RSS Feeds to read them in a magazine style. Free from the Google Play store.
- RSSDemon. RSSDemon is a great RSS Reader as it comes preloaded with popular feeds. The best feature of this app is that it will notify you when a RSS Feed has been updated. If you have a Google Reader account, it can pull the feeds from there and will notify you when a new one is posted. Free from the Google Play store.
- Flipboard. Billed as a social-network aggregator, Flipboard collects social media and website content and displays it in magazine format. Users “flip” through it like they would a magazine. The best thing about this app is that it comes with widgets that display new stories. It can also combine with Google Reader to provide another way to view RSS Feeds. It’s currently in Beta, but can be downloaded for free from here.
Which RSS Reader should you go with? We recommend using Google Reader as your base app, subscribe to all your feeds there and view them with Google Currents or Flipboard. To subscribe go to the Google Reader website, and click Subscribe. Enter the name of the website you want to subscribe to and select the website that comes up. You can also subscribe by entering the full url with a “/feed” after i.e., http://www.oursite.com/feed. This will work for all blog sites, including ours.
RSS Feeds and Readers are a great way for business owners to quickly catch up on topics they are interested in. If you’d like to learn more about how to use RSS Feeds on your Android, please contact us.