News aggregator

In computing, a news aggregator, also termed a feed aggregator, feed reader, news reader, RSS reader or simply aggregator, is client software or a web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as online newspapers, blogs, podcasts, and video blogs (vlogs) in one location for easy viewing. RSS is a synchronized subscription system. RSS uses extensible markup language (XML) to structure pieces of information to be aggregated in a feed reader that displays the information in a user-friendly interface. The updates distributed may include journal tables of contents, podcasts, videos, and news items.[1]

Tiny Tiny RSS English Interface
User interface of the feed reader Tiny Tiny RSS


Visiting many separate websites frequently to find out if content on the site has been updated can take a long time. Aggregation technology helps to consolidate many websites into one page that can show the new or updated information from many sites. Aggregators reduce the time and effort needed to regularly check websites for updates, creating a unique information space or personal newspaper. Once subscribed to a feed, an aggregator is able to check for new content at user-determined intervals and retrieve the update. The content is sometimes described as being pulled to the subscriber, as opposed to pushed with email or IM. Unlike recipients of some push information, the aggregator user can easily unsubscribe from a feed.

RSS uses extensible markup language (XML) to structure pieces of information to be aggregated in a feed reader that displays the information in a user-friendly interface.[1] Before subscribing to RSS, users have to install either "feed reader" or "aggregator" applications in order to read RSS feed. The aggregator provides a consolidated view of the content in one browser display or desktop application. "Desktop applications offer the advantages of a potentially richer user interface and of being able to provide some content even when the computer is not connected to the Internet. Webbased feed readers offer the great convenience of allowing users to access up-to-date feeds from any Internet-connected computer."[2] Although some applications will have an automated process to subscribe to a news feed, the basic way to subscribe is by simply clicking on the RSS icon and/or text link.[2] Aggregation features are frequently built into web portal sites, in the web browsers themselves, in email applications or in application software designed specifically for reading feeds. Aggregators with podcasting capabilities can automatically download media files, such as MP3 recordings. In some cases, these can be automatically loaded onto portable media players (like iPods) when they are connected to the end-user's computer. By 2011, so-called RSS-narrators appeared, which aggregated text-only news feeds, and converted them into audio recordings for offline listening. The syndicated content an aggregator will retrieve and interpret is usually supplied in the form of RSS or other XML-formatted data, such as RDF/XML or Atom.


RSS began in 1999 "when it was first introduced by Internet-browser pioneer Netscape".[2] In the beginning, RSS was not a user-friendly gadget and it took some years to spread. "...RDF-based data model that people inside Netscape felt was too complicated for end users."[3] The rise of RSS began in the early 2000s when the New York Times implemented RSS: "One of the first, most popular sites that offered users the option to subscribe to RSS feeds was the New York Times, and the company’s implementation of the format was revered as the 'tipping point' that cemented RSS’s position as a de facto standard."[4] "In 2005, major players in the web browser market started integrating the technology directly into their products, including Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari." As of 2015, according to, there were 20,516,036 live websites using RSS.[5]


Web aggregators gather material from a variety of sources for display in one location. They may additionally process the information after retrieval for individual clients.[6] For instance, Google News gathers and publishes material independent of customers' needs while Awasu[7] is created as an individual RSS tool to control and collect information according to clients' criteria. There are a variety of software applications and components available to collect, format, translate, and republish XML feeds, a demonstration of presentation-independent data.

News aggregation websites

A news aggregator provides and updates information from different sources in systematized way. "Some news aggregator services also provide update services, whereby a user is regularly updated with the latest news on a chosen topic."[6] Websites such as Google News[8], Drudge Report, Huffington Post[9], Fark, Zero Hedge, Newslookup, Newsvine, World News (WN) Network and Daily Beast where aggregation is entirely automatic, using algorithms which carry out contextual analysis and group similar stories together, while other sites supplement automatically-aggregated news headline RSS feeds from a number of reputable mainstream and alternative news outlets, while including their own articles in a separate section of the website. Some news aggregators offer subscription services to professionals.

News aggregation websites began with content selected and entered by humans, while automated selection algorithms were eventually developed to fill the content from a range of either automatically selected or manually added sources. Google News launched in 2002 using automated story selection, but humans could add sources to its search engine, while the older Yahoo News, as of 2005, used a combination of automated news crawlers and human editors.[10][11][12]

Web-based feed readers

Web-based feeds readers allow users to find a web feed on the internet and add it to their feed reader. Online feed readers include Bloglines, Feedly, Inoreader, Facebook News Feed, Flipboard, Digg, News360, My Yahoo!, NewsBlur,[13][14] Netvibes, Tiny Tiny RSS, and[15]. These are meant for personal use and are hosted on remote servers. Because the application is available via the web, it can be accessed anywhere by a user with an internet connection. There are even more specified web-based RSS readers. For instance, a news aggregator created for scientists: "Michael Imbeault, an HIV researcher at the Université Laval in Quebec, launched his fully automated site called "e! Science News".[16]

More advanced methods of aggregating feeds are provided via Ajax coding techniques and XML components called web widgets. Ranging from full-fledged applications to small fragments of source code that can be integrated into larger programs, they allow users to aggregate OPML files, email services, documents, or feeds into one interface. Many customizable homepage and portal implementations provide such functionality.

In addition to aggregator services mainly for individual use, there are web applications that can be used to aggregate several blogs into one. One such variety—called planet sites—are used by online communities to aggregate community blogs in a centralized location. They are named after the Planet aggregator, a server application designed for this purpose.

Feed reader applications

Feed aggregation applications are installed on a PC, smartphone or tablet computer and designed to collect news and interest feed subscriptions and group them together using a user-friendly interface. The graphical user interface of such applications often closely resembles that of popular e-mail clients, using a three-panel composition in which subscriptions are grouped in a frame on the left, and individual entries are browsed, selected, and read in frames on the right. Some notable examples include NetNewsWire, Flipboard, Prismatic, and Zite.[17][18]

Software aggregators can also take the form of news tickers which scroll feeds like ticker tape, alerters that display updates in windows as they are refreshed, web browser macro tools or as smaller components (sometimes called plugins or extensions), which can integrate feeds into the operating system or software applications such as a web browser. Clients applications include Mozilla Thunderbird,[19] Microsoft Office Outlook, iTunes, FeedDemon and many others.

Social news aggregators

One of the examples of social news aggregators is The website collects the most popular stories on the Internet, selected and edited and proposed by a wide range of people. "In these social news aggregators, users submit news items (referred to as "stories"), communicate with peers through direct messages and comments, and collaboratively select and rate submitted stories to get to a real-time compilation of what is currently perceived as "hot" and popular on the Internet."[20] Social news aggregators based on engagement of community. Their responses, engagement level, and contribution to stories create the content and determine what will be generated as RSS feed.

Frame- and media bias-aware news aggregators

Media bias and Framing (social sciences) are concepts that fundamentally explain deliberate or accidental differences in news coverage. A simple example is coverage of media in two countries, which are in (armed) conflict with another: one can easily imagine that news outlets, particularly if state-controlled, will report differently or even contrarily on the same events (see for instance Ukrainian crisis). While media bias and framing have been subject to manual research for a couple of decades in the social sciences, only recently automated methods and systems have been proposed to analyze and show such differences. Such systems make use of text-features, e.g., NewsCube is a news aggregator that extracts key phrases that describe a topic differently, or other features, e.g., matrix-based news aggregation spans a matrix over two dimensions, such as in which articles have been published (first dimension) and on which country they are reporting (second dimension).[21][22]

Media aggregators

Media aggregators are sometimes referred to as podcatchers due to the popularity of the term podcast used to refer to a web feed containing audio or video. Media aggregators are client software or web-based applications which maintain subscriptions to feeds that contain audio or video media enclosures. They can be used to automatically download media, playback the media within the application interface, or synchronize media content with a portable media player. Multimedia aggregators are the current focus. EU launched the project Reveal This to embedded different media platforms in RSS system. "Integrated infrastructure that will allow the user to capture, store, semantically index, categorize and retrieve multimedia, and multilingual digital content across different sources – TV, radio, music, web, etc. The system will allow the user to personalize the service and will have semantic search, retrieval, summarization."[6]


"Broadcatching is a promising mechanism to improve the experience of BitTorrent users by automatically downloading files advertised through RSS feeds."[23] Several BitTorrent client software applications such as Azureus, μTorrent have added the ability to broadcatch torrents of distributed multimedia through the aggregation of web feeds. Broadcatching is the ervise for smart TV era. "Broadcatching is the act of downloading TV to be viewed on your computer." Files downloaded from BitTorrent have to be read by special screening tool DiVX.

Feed filtering

One of the problems with news aggregators is that the volume of articles can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when the user has many web feed subscriptions. As a solution, many feed readers allow users to tag each feed with one or more keywords which can be used to sort and filter the available articles into easily navigable categories. Another option is to import the user's Attention Profile to filter items based on their relevance to the user's interests.

RSS and marketing

Some bloggers predicted the death of RSS when Google Reader was shut down.[24][25] Later, however, RSS was considered more of a success as an appealing way to obtain information. "Feedly, likely the most popular RSS reader today, has gone from around 5,000 paid subscribers in 2013 to around 50,000 paid subscribers in early 2015 – that’s a 900% increase for Feedly in two years."[26] Customers use RSS to get information more easily while businesses take advantages of being able to spread announcements. "RSS serves as a delivery mechanism for websites to push online content to potential users and as an information aggregator and filter for users."[27] However, it has been pointed out that in order to push the content RSS should be user-friendly to ensure[28] proactive interaction so that the user can remain engaged without feeling "trapped", good design to avoid being overwhelmed by stale data, and optimization for both desktop and mobile use. RSS has a positive impact on marketing since it contributes to better search engine rankings, to building and maintaining brand awareness, and increasing site traffic.[29]

See also


  1. ^ a b Miles, Alisha (2009). "RIP RSS: Reviving Innovative Programs through Really Savvy Services". Journal of Hospital Librarianship. 9 (4): 425–432. doi:10.1080/15323260903253753.
  2. ^ a b c Doree, Jim (2007-01-01). "RSS: A Brief Introduction". The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy. 15 (1): 57–58. doi:10.1179/106698107791090169. ISSN 1066-9817. PMC 2565593. PMID 19066644.
  3. ^ Hammersley, Ben (2005). Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom. Sebastopol: O'Reilly Media, Inc. ISBN 978-0-596-00881-9.
  4. ^ "Google Reader is dead but the race to replace the RSS feed is very alive". Digital Trends. July 2013. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  5. ^ "RSS Usage Statistics". Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Chowdhury, Sudatta; Landoni, Monica (2006). "News aggregator services: user expectations and experience". Online Information Review. 30 (2): 100–115. doi:10.1108/14684520610659157.
  7. ^ "Welcome to Awasu". Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Google News and newspaper publishers: allies or enemies?". World Editors Forum. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  9. ^ Luscombe, Belinda (19 March 2009). "Arianna Huffington: The Web's New Oracle". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved 30 March 2009. (Subscription required (help)). The Huffington Post was to have three basic functions: blog, news aggregator with an attitude and place for premoderated comments. Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  10. ^ Hansell, Saul (24 September 2002). "All the news Google algorithms say is fit to print". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  11. ^ Hill, Brad (24 October 2005). Google Search & Rescue For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-471-75811-2.
  12. ^ LiCalzi O'Connell, Pamela (29 January 2001). "New Economy; Yahoo Charts the Spread of the News by E-Mail, and What It Finds Out Is Itself Becoming News". New York Times.
  13. ^ "YC-Backed NewsBlur Takes Feed Reading Back To Its Basics". TechCrunch. July 30, 2012.
  14. ^ "Need A Google Reader Alternative? Meet Newsblur". Search Engine Land. March 14, 2013.
  15. ^ "Show HN:, a Newsfeed for News". Hacker News. March 11, 2019.
  16. ^ Butler, Declan (2008-06-25). "Scientists get online news aggregator". Nature News. 453 (7199): 1149. doi:10.1038/4531149b.
  17. ^ Cheredar, Tom (22 May 2013). "Zite's new iOS app update welcomes (but doesn't cater to) mournful Google Reader users". VentureBeat. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  18. ^ Dugdale, Addy (14 March 2013). "Google Reader is dead, but Digg, Zite are among these alternatives". Fast Company. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  19. ^ "How to Subscribe to News Feeds and Blogs". Mozilla support for Thunderbird.
  20. ^ Doerr, Christian; Blenn, Norbert; Tang, Siyu; Van Mieghem, Piet (2012). "Are Friends Overrated? A Study for the Social News Aggregator". Computer Communications. 35 (7): 796–809. arXiv:1304.2974. doi:10.1016/j.comcom.2012.02.001. ISSN 0140-3664.
  21. ^ Felix Hamborg, Norman Meuschke, and Bela Gipp, Matrix-based News Aggregation: Exploring Different News Perspectives in Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL), 2017.
  22. ^ Felix Hamborg, Norman Meuschke and Bela Gipp, Bias-aware News Analysis using Matrix-based News Aggregation in the International Journal on Digital Libraries (IJDL), 2018.
  23. ^ Zhang, Zengbin; Lin, Yuan; Chen, Yang; Xiong, Yongqiang; Shen, Jacky; Liu, Hongqiang; Deng, Beixing; Li, Xing (2009-01-01). Experimental Study of Broadcatching in BitTorrent. 6th IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference, 2009. CCNC 2009. pp. 1–5. CiteSeerX doi:10.1109/CCNC.2009.4784862. ISBN 978-1-4244-2308-8.
  24. ^ "R.I.P. RSS? Google to shut down Google Reader". Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  25. ^ Olanoff, Drew. "Google Reader's Death Is Proof That RSS Always Suffered From Lack Of Consumer Appeal". Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  26. ^ "Is RSS Dead? A Look At The Numbers". MakeUseOf. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  27. ^ Ma, Dan (2012-12-01). "Use of RSS feeds to push online content to users". Decision Support Systems. 54 (1): 740–749. doi:10.1016/j.dss.2012.09.002.
  28. ^ "Google Reader is dead but the race to replace the RSS feed is very alive". Digital Trends. July 2013. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  29. ^ Hammersley, Ben (2005). Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom. California: O'Reilly Media, Inc. p. 11. ISBN 9780596519001.

External links

AOL Explorer

AOL Explorer, previously known as AOL Browser, is a discontinued graphical web browser based on the Microsoft Trident layout engine and was released by AOL. In July 2005, AOL launched AOL Explorer as a free download and as an optional download with AIM version 5.9. AOL Explorer supported tabbed browsing.

Apple News

Apple News is a mobile app and news aggregator developed by Apple Inc., for its iOS, watchOS, and macOS operating systems. The iOS version was launched with the release of iOS 9. It is the successor to the Newsstand app included in previous versions of iOS. Users can read news articles with it, based on publishers, websites and topics they select, such as The New York Times, technology or politics.

Avant Browser

Avant Browser is a freeware web browser from a Chinese programmer named Anderson Che, which unites the Trident layout engine built into Windows (see Internet Explorer shell) with an interface intended to be more feature-rich, flexible and ergonomic than Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE). It runs on Windows 2000 and above, including Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11 are supported.

Version 2012 (released October 2011) was separated in two editions: Ultimate edition, which added the Gecko layout engine (used by Mozilla Firefox), allowing the user choose between both layout engines, and Lite edition which contains only the Trident layout engine.

As of November 2008, total downloads surpassed 22.5 million.

Avant Browser is currently available in 41 languages.

Basilisk (web browser)

Basilisk is an open-source web browser created by the developers of the Pale Moon browser. There are releases for Microsoft Windows and Linux, and an unofficial build for macOS.First released in 2017, Basilisk is a perpetual beta intended to refine the UXP codebase it is built from. Pale Moon and other applications are also built from this codebase.Like Pale Moon, Basilisk is a fork of Firefox with substantial divergence. Basilisk has the user interface of the Firefox version 29–56 era (unlike Pale Moon, which has the Firefox 4–28 interface).

For add-ons, Basilisk has roughly similar support as Pale Moon for XUL/XPCOM extensions and NPAPI plugins, all of which are no longer supported in Firefox. Basilisk also had experimental support for current Firefox WebExtensions, but this was removed in February 2019.Unlike Pale Moon, Basilisk has limited support for Widevine DRM and WebRTC.


FeedDemon is a free RSS feed reader for Windows. It was created in 2003 and is developed by Nick Bradbury, author of tools HomeSite, an HTML editor, and TopStyle, a CSS editor. FeedDemon is developed in Delphi. FeedDemon was purchased by NewsGator Technologies in May 2005. It was able to synchronize with Google Reader. It is available for the Windows platform.

In March 2013 Bradbury announced the termination of the service, giving the death of Google Reader and other professional duties as reasons.

Feedreader (Windows Application)

Feedreader is a free RSS and Atom aggregator for Windows. It has a stripped down, though configurable, three-pane interface similar to NetNewsWire on Mac OS X. Recent beta versions use MySQL as database back-end.

Feedreader was one of the first desktop feed readers; version 1.54 of Feedreader of the application were distributed on April 24, 2001. The company behind Feedreader says that it was the first personal desktop RSS reader.Feedreader has an auto-discovery feature, whose purpose is to find RSS feeds on any web page and subscribe to them in an automated fashion. Moreover, the program can use keyboard shortcuts, search through one's RSS feeds, and can be run from a USB flash drive. The installation file is 4.44 MB, which is notably small for a feed reader with such features.


Flipboard is a news aggregator and social network aggregation company based in Palo Alto, California, with offices in New York, Vancouver and Bejiing. Its software, also known as Flipboard, was first released in July 2010. It aggregates content from social media, news feeds, photo sharing sites and other websites, presents it in magazine format, and allows users to "flip" through the articles, images and videos being shared. Readers can also save stories into Flipboard magazines. As of March 2016 the company claims there have been 28 million magazines created by users on Flipboard. The service can be accessed via web browser, or by a Flipboard application for Microsoft Windows and macOS, and via mobile apps for iOS and Android. The client software is available at no charge and is localized in 21 languages. Its current headquarters is located at 735 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, recently moving from a nearby building.


iCab is a web browser for Mac OS by Alexander Clauss, derived from Crystal Atari Browser (CAB) for Atari TOS compatible computers. It was one of the few browsers still updated for the classic Mac OS prior to that version being discontinued after version 3.0.5 in 2008; today Classilla is the only browser still maintained for that OS.The downloadable product is fully functional, but is nagware—periodically displaying a dialog box asking the user to register the product, and upgrade to the "Pro" version.

Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) is the eleventh and final version of the Internet Explorer web browser by Microsoft. It was officially released on October 17, 2013 for Windows 8.1 and on November 7, 2013 for Windows 7. The browser was also shipped with Windows 10 on its release on July 29, 2015, but Microsoft Edge is the default browser in this version of Windows. It is the default browser shipped with Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019. After January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer to be offered for installation on any given Windows operating system will continue to be supported with security updates, lasting until the end of the support lifecycle for that Windows operating system. On Windows 7, 8.1, and 10, only Internet Explorer 11 will receive security updates for the remainder of those Windows versions' support lifecycles.While Internet Explorer 10 will reach end of support on January 31, 2020, IE 11 will be the only supported version of Internet Explorer on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard. IE 11 will be available for piloting starting Spring of 2019.


Kazehakase (Japanese: Dr. Wind (風博士, kaze hakase)) was a web browser for Unix-like operating systems that uses the GTK+ libraries. Kazehakase embeds the Gecko layout engine as well as GTK+ WebKit.

The browser is named after the short story "Kazehakase" by the Japanese author Ango Sakaguchi; its literal meaning is "Dr. Wind" (a PhD rather than a medical doctor).


Liferea (short for Linux Feed Reader) is a news aggregator for online news feeds. It supports the major feed formats including RSS/RDF and Atom and can import and export subscription lists in OPML format. Liferea is intended to be a fast, easy to use, and easy to install news aggregator for GTK+ that can be used with the GNOME desktop. Liferea features a script manager, in which users can add custom scripts that run whenever a certain action occurs.Liferea also supports podcasting.


NetNewsWire is a news aggregator for Mac OS X

Pale Moon (web browser)

Pale Moon is an open-source web browser with an emphasis on customizability; its motto is "Your browser, Your way". There are official releases for Microsoft Windows and Linux, an unofficial build for macOS, and contributed builds for various platforms.Pale Moon is a fork of Firefox with substantial divergence. The main differences are the user interface, add-on support, and running in single-process mode. Pale Moon retains the highly customizable user interface of the Firefox version 4–28 era. It also continues to support some types of add-ons that are no longer supported by Firefox. is a science, research and technology news aggregator where much of the content is republished directly from press releases and news agencies-in a practice known as churnalism. It also produces some science journalism.In April 2011, started the site Medical Xpress for its content about medicine and health.


QuiteRSS is an open source cross-platform news aggregator for RSS and Atom news feeds. QuiteRSS is free software released under the GPL v3 license. It is available for Windows, Max OSX and Linux. It has two layout modes—classic and newspaper. The classic layout has a three-panel view for the feed list, posts and browser. It supports tabbed browsing, import/export of OPML feeds, basic web browsing functions, adblocking, tags and system tray integration.


RSS (originally RDF Site Summary; later, two competing approaches emerged, which used the backronyms Rich Site Summary and Really Simple Syndication respectively) is a type of web feed which allows users and applications to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format. These feeds can, for example, allow a user to keep track of many different websites in a single news aggregator. The news aggregator will automatically check the RSS feed for new content, allowing the content to be automatically passed from website to website or from website to user. This passing of content is called web syndication. Websites usually use RSS feeds to publish frequently updated information, such as blog entries, news headlines, or episodes of audio and video series. RSS is also used to distribute podcasts. An RSS document (called "feed", "web feed", or "channel") includes full or summarized text, and metadata, like publishing date and author's name.

A standard XML file format ensures compatibility with many different machines/programs. RSS feeds also benefit users who want to receive timely updates from favourite websites or to aggregate data from many sites.

Subscribing to a website RSS removes the need for the user to manually check the website for new content. Instead, their browser constantly monitors the site and informs the user of any updates. The browser can also be commanded to automatically download the new data for the user.

RSS feed data is presented to users using software called a news aggregator. This aggregator can be built into a website, installed on a desktop computer, or installed on a mobile device. Users subscribe to feeds either by entering a feed's URI into the reader or by clicking on the browser's feed icon. The RSS reader checks the user's feeds regularly for new information and can automatically download it, if that function is enabled. The reader also provides a user interface.


RSSOwl is a news aggregator for RSS and Atom News feeds. It is written in Java, and is built on the Eclipse Rich Client Platform which uses SWT as a widget toolkit to allow it to fit in with the look and feel of different operating systems while remaining cross-platform. Released under the Eclipse Public License, RSSOwl is free software.

In addition to its full text searches, saved searches, notifications and filters, RSSOwl v2.1 synchronized with the now discontinued Google Reader.

RSS Bandit

RSS Bandit is an open source RSS/Atom aggregator based on the Microsoft .NET framework. It was originally released as a code sample in a series of articles the Extreme XML column written by Dare Obasanjo on MSDN in 2003. The code samples were developed into an open source project. It is currently hosted on SourceForge and the primary contributors are Dare Obasanjo and Torsten Rendelmann.

Tiny Tiny RSS

Tiny Tiny RSS is a free RSS feed reader. It is a web application which must be installed on a web server.Following Google's announcement that they would be retiring Google Reader, Tiny Tiny RSS was widely reviewed as a possible replacement for it in major tech blogs and online magazines. Reviewers praised its versatility but criticized its performance and installation process.

News aggregators
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