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The Best News Aggregators

posted by on April 21, 2016 in Productivity, Guides & Reviews, Time Savers :: 0 comments

Best News Aggregators

The internet is a giant distraction, and it can be incredibly hard to find quality content you want to read or content tailored just for you. Thank goodness for Rich Site Summary, or RSS. According to whatisrss.com, RSS “is a format for delivering regularly changing web content.” Lots of news sites create their own RSS feeds so you can quickly look at all of their published stories’ headlines without having to go the the site itself and sorting through all of the news to find what you want. The links to these feeds can be added to RSS readers, or news aggregators, to display all of your favorite sites’ content in one place.

How do you find the RSS feed of a particular website? A lot of times, the link is right on the website’s home page next to the site’s other social media feeds represented by a Wi-fi-like symbol.

Techlicious RSS

When you click, you’ll be led to a page with a lot of code that says, “This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it.” Just copy and paste the link into an RSS feed reader. A quick Google search of the website and RSS (eg “Techlicious RSS”) will oftentimes bring you to the right link, as well. And if you’re looking for RSS feeds around a certain topic, sites like Instant RSS Search will help you find popular feeds quickly. You can add multiple RSS feeds to a news aggregator site or app to curate your own feed from your favorite sites. News aggregators often have suggestions for sites to follow based upon particular interests, as well.

News aggregators often have both complete apps and in-browser sites. The apps are a great option for when you’re on-the-go, because they often include offline browsing- even if you’re on the subway, you can still have reading material from your favorite sites. In-browser readers are great for leaving open while you’re working so a quick glance gives you the information you’re looking for.

The following apps and services known as RSS feed readers or news aggregators will let you organize your favorite sites and save articles you come across, making the internet seem at least a bit more manageable. While Google Reader is dead, there are plenty of well designed alternatives.
 

Best General News Aggregator: Feedly

Feedly News Aggregator for Browser

If you’re looking for a simple, minimalistic design conducive to reading your favorite sites’ content, look no further than Feedly. Feedly lets you input publications, blogs, YouTube channels and Google Alerts into their system using search and inputting URLs, then organize them into folders called Collections based upon subject. Every time a new post from those sites goes up, it’s added to your Feedly reader so you can scroll through them and choose what you think sounds most interesting. It’s a great way to put all of your favorite news sites and bloggers in one place (and an easy way to keep abreast of what your organization or you organization’s competitors are up to). Feedly is best in browsers, but they offer iOS, Android and Kindle apps, as well.

  • Can you save for later? Yes, by pressing “save.” 

  • Can you influence what appears in your feed? No, there is no algorithm Feedly uses to deliver content tailored to you- you add channels to your feed and then it will show you everything from those sites.
  • Can you dismiss articles to clean out your feed? Yes, by selecting “Read,” you can clean your feed.

  • Can you share to social? Yes, you can share to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Best for Saving Stories As You Go: Pocket

Pocket Mobile News Aggregator iOS

Pocket is a great way to store articles you want to read as-the-go for later. What sets it apart from other services is its integration with over 1500 third-party apps like the Twitter app, Tweetbot, Zite, Flipboard, Feedly and a ton of others. If you’re on desktop or mobile, all you have to do is install browser extensions and the apps themselves on iOS, Android, Mac and more, and you will automatically get the option to share content to Pocket that you want to check out when you have more time. You can even save an article with email by sending it to add@pocket.com. It’s incredibly versatile, and the company’s apps are clean and easy to read.

  • Can you save for later? Yes, you can press “Save” on any story you see in your feed to read it later.

  • Can you influence what appears in your feed? Yes, you send the stories you want to save for later to Pocket. By following others on Pocket, you can also see what they recommend and Pocket will recommend articles based on those follows, as well.

  • Can you dismiss articles to clean out your feed? Yes, click on an article, then select “Delete” from the ellipses menu at the bottom right hand corner of the page.
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Can you share to social? Yes, you can share to Twitter and Facebook.

 

Best for What’s Happening Now: Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck Desktop News Aggregator

Tweetdeck is a service that uses columns to display all of the tweets in your feed in real time. While Twitter recently added Moments, which display the best tweets that explain trends and breaking news, because these Moments are for a general audience, they’re not as useful as curating your own feed. Tweetdeck’s usefulness primarily depends on who you decide to follow, so there is a lot of personal curation needed for using it just for the Home feed. But the other great thing about Tweetdeck is that you can make columns that follow a hashtag, a trending subject, a particular user or a set of users that you’ve put into a Twitter list (I have one for the Best Tech News). Lots of journalists use Tweetdeck as their primary way to use Twitter, but everyone can leverage it to keep up with what’s going on in the news. You can download Tweetdeck as an app for Mac (the Windows app recently became unsupported), and you can also just use it in your browser.

  • Can you save for later? Yes, if you “like” or “retweet” a tweet, you can save an article for later.

  • Can you influence what appears in your feed? Yes, you choose who to follow and add columns for specific topics you’d like to follow.
  • Can you dismiss articles to clean out your feed? No.
  • 
Can you share to social? Yes, you can share to Twitter by retweeting, and can copy links to share elsewhere. 

Best for Automatic Curation: SmartNews

SmartNews Mobile iOS News Aggregator

If you’re looking for an automatically curated source for news, look no further than SmartNews. This app automatically serves up the top news stories from all over the web in a variety of topics, including entertainment, sports, lifestyle, world and currently, Election 2016, all accessible in colorful tabs at the top of the screen. Loading articles with their SmartView also strips out all of the extra stuff on the website, saving you mobile data and making the reading experience more pleasurable. You can even read the news when you’re offline, so subway rides don’t need to be boring any more. While you can’t add your own channels like with regular RSS feeds, there are a lot of news channels covering a broad span of topics already on the app, including BuzzFeed, CNN, The Associated Press and The Atlantic. You can download SmartNews for iOS and Android.

  • Can you save for later? Technically you can’t, but you can send the article to an app like Pocket to save the article for later.

  • Can you influence what appears in your feed? Yes, you can choose the channels you would like to see on your feed.
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Can you dismiss articles to clean out your feed? No.
  • 
Can you share to social? Yes, you can share to Twitter or Facebook. 

Best for Curating for Learning What You Like: Flipboard

Flipboard Mobile iOS News Aggregator

Flipboard dubs itself as “Your Personal Magazine,” allowing you to follow the topics that interest you, as well as the sources and people you depend upon for news. It’s beautifully designed, and it reminds me of Pinterest, but for news. When you sign in, you get a list of Cover Stories that are highlights from the topics you chose to follow. If you like content and want more of it, just Like it. If you want to curate that particular post into a shareable magazine, just Flip it by pressing the plus sign. Flipboard is also great because human curators create their own magazines that you can explore, as well. There’s a 2016 Election Central board, as well as boards by publications and companies like the MIT Technology Review and Kickstarter. If the algorithms aren’t quite hitting the spot, you can find a lot of other sources using the Explore tab. Flipboard is available for iOS, Android, Windows, Windows Phone and your browser of choice.

  • Can you save for later? Yes, you can “reflip” the story into one of your flipboards to read for later.
  • 
Can you influence what appears in your feed? Yes, you choose the topics you’re interested in, as well as the people and brands you follow.
  • Can you dismiss articles to clean out your feed?
 No.
  • Can you share to social? Yes, you can share to Twitter and Facebook, as well as any other sharing apps you have on your phone.

Best for Social Sharing: Buffer

Buffer RSS for Browser

Buffer makes social media sharing and scheduling easier in general, but when you combine it with their RSS reader, you’ll be an unstoppable news sharer. All you have to do is add your social media profiles to Buffer including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Pinterest, then go to the section labeled “RSS Feeds.” You’ll then see links and headlines to all of the articles in your feed. Just press “Add” to personalize a message to go with the link and share it to any or all of the social media accounts connected to your Buffer account. With the standard free account, you can only add 15 feeds, but it’s great if you have a set of core sources you regularly share from. Buffer is available within browsers and also as an app for iOS and Android.

  • Can you save for later? No. 

  • Can you influence what appears in your feed? You can add the specific RSS feeds you would like, but Buffer does not curate sources for you.
  • Can you dismiss articles to clean out your feed? Yes, you can dismiss articles by pressing “Dismiss.”
  • 
Can you share to social? Yes, you can share to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Pinterest.

 

[RSS feed image via Cienpies Design/Shutterstock; All other images desktop or iOS screenshots by Chelsey B. Coombs/Techlicious]



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