RSS Reaches Out for Enterprise, Social Networks

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-04-22 Print this article Print

NewsGator brings RSS to the enterprise with "Dino," its upcoming server edition, while startup Rojo enables community-based RSS and Onfolio builds its reader to function within Web browsers.

The software and services used to read XML-based news feeds are continuing to branch out as the syndication method gains popularity on the Web. The enterprise is becoming a target for NewsGator Technologies Inc. as it preps a server-based version of its RSS aggregation service. Meanwhile, upstarts Rojo Networks Inc. and Onfolio Inc. this week expanded the availability of their respective RSS readers, each of which puts a new twist on finding and organizing feeds. NewsGator is developing an enterprise service, code-named Dino, that provides the engine behind its public NewsGator Online Web-based aggregator within an organizations firewall, said Greg Reinacker, chief technology officer for the Denver-based company.
Tentatively called NewsGator Enterprise Server, the software is expected to begin being beta tested next month and to be generally released later this year, Reinacker said. The server product also will include an option for integrating it into Microsoft Corp.s Active Directory for single sign-on access, and Microsoft Exchange for accessing feeds through Outlook.
"More and more companies are starting to use internal content distributed in the form of RSS," Reinacker said. "Having this content delivered internally in a secure manner is really kind of the sweet spot for [enterprises] right now." NewsGator already is best known for its Outlook edition, a plug-in for reading and managing RSS feeds within the Outlook client. But that software requires a user to be running Outlook in order to pull in feed updates, Reinacker said. Click here to read more about the growing enterprise interest in RSS. With the server edition, users could access feeds without the traditional Outlook client because the aggregation would occur in Exchange. NewsGators Outlook aggregator also is getting a facelift. Next week, the company plans to start a beta test of Version 2.5 of the Outlook edition, Reinacker said. The update focuses on improving the synchronization of feeds across multiple installations of the Outlook add-on and the NewsGator Online service. Rather than deliver a software client, Rojo is tackling RSS aggregation on the Web with a social twist. The San Francisco-based company released a public beta version Wednesday of its RSS reader. The reader combines social-networking features with a Web-based aggregator and a search engine of feeds. Once users join Rojo and add their contacts, they can view their contacts RSS feed selections and add those feeds to their own subscriptions, said Rojo CEO Chris Alden. "The problem with Version 1.0 feed reading is it doesnt scale very well," Alden said. "As people are reading more and more feeds, the clutter problems are getting worse, so you need better ways of organizing them." Rojo also supports metadata tagging, allowing users to add keywords to specific feeds, to posts within a feed, and to their individual contacts as a way of organizing them, Alden said. The service also has sharing features, in which users can add comments to feed posts and then share the annotated posts with their contacts. Read more here about how tags are reshaping the Web. A feature called Rojo Buzz can decipher the most linked-to online story based on a group of feeds created by a user. Rojo first launched last year with an invite-only beta program that drew about 10,000 users. The company is backed by such well-known Internet luminaries as Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen and investor Ron Conway. Rather than building RSS aggregation into an online service, Onfolio is putting it right into the Web browsers functionality. The Cambridge, Mass., company on Monday announced the general availability of Onfolio 2.0. To read an eWEEK Labs review of Onfolio 2.0, click here. With the newest version of its browser add-on, Onfolio added the ability to subscribe to, read and manage RSS feeds. Onfolio also provides a range of features for organizing and storing personal Web information such as bookmarks and visited Web pages, as well as for publishing information to Web sites and blogs. Onfolio 2.0 requires Windows and supports Microsofts Internet Explorer, Mozillas Firefox and the Maxthon browsers. It is available in two editions: The personal edition costs $29.95, while the professional edition costs $99.95. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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