Before I dig into some of the more obscure uses of RSS (in a future post), I figured I’d list out all sorts of creative ways RSS can be used beyond news headlines and blogs. Here goes:
- Track Specific News Headlines. You can keep track of news on particular topics by subscribing to specific news search results. Here’s a constantly updated news search on the Seattle Seahawks via Google. Here’s another by Yahoo! that tracks the headlines coming in on the U.S. Supreme Court. To subscribe, just do your search and find the RSS feed link.
- Find Shopping Deals. Another cool use of RSS is the ability to get entries when a shopping deal or coupon comes along. Slickdeals (feed), Ben’s Bargains (feed) and MoreStuff4Less (feed) are just a few of the feeds out there.
- Track Packages. Nobody enjoys visiting a site and punching in a tracking number just to get shipment status on a package. Simpletracking.com allows you to create a custom feed that gets updated as your package moves along its route. UPS, Fedex, USPS & DHL are supported.
- Create a Calendar Feed. This is a cool way to share events with others. RSSCalendar.com allows you to create an account, add events and meetngs, and then share a feed for others to consume. They can use a standard feed reader or the RSSCalendar.com site to keep track.
- TV Listings Via RSS. Track programming on your favorite TV channels via Bootleg RSS.
- Track Weather. Get weather updates via RSSWeather. Here’s the weather in New York City as of this posting.
- Keep Up With Specific Emails Via RSS. Mailbucket will pump any emails into a feed that you forward to firstname.lastname@example.org. Just create an Outlook rule against whatever (e.g. emails from particular senders) and get the sent out to a feed once they come in. Just keep in mind that such feeds are unencrypted and can be consumed by others.
- Get Some General Knowledge On A Regular Basis. Not that you need it, but you can enrich your mind and impress people at cocktail parties by subscribing to daily feeds that send along a Word Of The Day (via Wordsmith.org), Quote of the Day (via Brainy Quote), or how about a bit of wisdom with a daily fortune cookie?
- Follow Your Favorite Comics. Tapestry Comics keeps track of a whole bunch of RSS feeds including Dilbert and Peanuts.
- Sports Team RSS Feeds. Follow the goings-on of your favorite sports team. Yahoo! delivers feeds for professional baseball, football, hockey and basketball.
- Deliver Your Contacts Via RSS. If you need to keep track of your contacts on different machines or want to share your contacts with friends, RSSContact.com allows you to create a feed and upload your contact information to do just that.
- Get Notified On Travel Deals. Looking to pounce on a good deal to a particular destination? Get notified on deals to particular cities. Travelocity let’s you build your own custom feed for tracking. Orbitz tracks a whole bunch of feeds to a many cities.
There’s still other stuff out there. These are just a few of the ways RSS can do more than news headlines. Just about all of the above are compatible with your favorite news reader or portal site (like My Yahoo!, Google’s personalized page or Netvibes). Enjoy!
Update: A follow-up, second article on taking RSS beyond headlines has been published here.