How to Use Outlook as an RSS Reader

I have a love for RSS. It’s just so nice to get pushed web-site updates. Notice I said the word “pushed”. I know I can go to a RSS aggregator web site, but I’m just too lazy. Hence, I’ve been looking to get RSS feeding into Outlook – all my “unreads” in one place.

So instead of waiting for Outlook 12, I’ve been on the hunt for an integrated Outlook RSS reader, and finally I’ve found one that works: Attensa. I’ve been using it for the last few weeks and whilst there were some initial bugs (oops, another crashed, ghosted, mystery outlook.exe to kill from the task manager) their latest version has reached a point where I think it’s just plain excellent.

Attensa does exactly what I want. Go to web site, click button, RSS feed automatically appears in Outlook. Nice work guys. If you want to have web sites push news to you then be sure to check it out.

So in talking about Attensa I was wondering if they are truly going to be threatened by the inclusion of RSS into Outlook 12 – similar to how most RSS readers fear integration into IE. In fact, you might ask are Attensa just pushing their users in the wrong direction; towards an Outlook centric world. The answer I think is as it should be. Attensa need to innovate ahead of Outlook, and there is plenty of room for this to be done. Feed aggregation, keyword alerts (ala Google News Alerts but for RSS) and better tools to store articles.

RSS has a long way to go. As a protocol it’s flexible enough to have uses way beyond article syndication. If I were Attensa for example I would be pushing 2-way RSS and using this as a gateway for commenting. Go on guys, challenge CoComment using a standard to back you.

And one last thing: here’s an idea for one of you RSS startups. Make an RSS to email gateway that automatically translates RSS articles into an email feed. Then go attack the Blackberry market.

(BTW: Attensa put up a “Press/Blogs” link on your site with some easily accessible screenshots – a good tip for any startup I think)

1 comment so far

  1. […] Someone emailed me asking if I know of a mobile RSS reader and that prompted me to mention something I failed in my previous post. You can use Attensa to feed RSS articles into Outlook folders but you’ll find these will not be available for sync when using ActiveSync (in the email folder options). […]

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