RealTime IT News

RSS Enables Google News Junkies

In a real-time world, e-mailed news alerts can seem slow, so Google News added RSS feeds to its offerings on Tuesday.

Users can subscribe to feeds from Google News in either RSS or Atom format by several means. RSS and Atom buttons appear on the left side of the page, allowing users to subscribe to the contents of the Google News home page. The buttons also appear aside news search results, allowing users to receive further news stories that match the search query as they appear. Similarly, they can subscribe to feeds from custom news topics they've created through personalization.

Those who've created My Google personal start pages will now be able to add feeds to those pages.

The new feature follows the rollout of customization of the News page in March. Users can create their own topics to appear on the Google News home page, as well as change the order of sections and the number of topics shown.

"With the new feature, users can be updated for all news Web sites they're interested in in one location," said Debbie Jaffe, senior product marketing manage for Google's consumer offerings.

Nathan Stoll, product manager for Google News, said there were no plans to monetize the news offerings by showing ads on the main pages or on search results.

In April 2004, Google asked a British man to stop feeding Google News headlines to his site. Julian Bond had created the script to display categorized headlines at Ecademy.com, a business-networking site. But now, third parties will be allowed to pull the feeds into public Web sites, as long as they're not for commercial use.

The feeds will look and work exactly like Google News itself, Stoll said -- and that includes sending users to a story's original publisher. Feeds will contain a headline and lead, as do the Web stories. "The traffic they drive will go to publishers' sites," Stoll said.

In March, French news bureau Agence France Presse sued Google for copyright infringement, claiming that the photos and story leads it reproduced were the heart of the content.

Stoll wouldn't comment on the matter, but said, "We believe Google News complies with copyright law."

Google rival Yahoo launched RSS News feeds in 2003. Yahoo also searches for, and incorporates, feeds in its news search results.