Yahoos Redesign Embraces RSS

Its updated My Yahoo service brings syndication feeds more fully into its content mix.

As part of its site revamp launched on Tuesday, Yahoo Inc. further embraced XML syndication technology by mixing feeds from Weblogs and other sites more prominently into its My Yahoo service.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company unveiled a beta of the next generation of its personalized home-page service that includes RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and Atom feeds as part of a search and directory feature for finding content to add to My Yahoo.

Yahoo started an RSS beta service in January that allowed users to aggregate feeds on their My Yahoo pages, but it was segregated in a section dedicated to RSS.

The updated My Yahoo service, though, has changed its model for adding content onto personalized pages.

"Its a powerful concept to be able to get anything on your page," said Scott Gatz, Yahoos senior director of personalization products. "Rather than just the thousands of things that people are used to, how about we open it to the millions of RSS feeds out there?"

Instead of navigating among specific content modules such as Yahoo News categories, users can customize My Yahoo by searching across 150,000 types of content coming from Yahoo as well as syndication feeds from external publishers, Gatz said. My Yahoo also highlights content in a directory and a section of "Editors Picks."

The search index and directory also grows as users choose to manually add other RSS feeds through an option to subscribe by entering a feeds URL, Gatz said.

Yahoo expects to move the updated My Yahoo out of beta in the next few weeks, Gatz said.

Yahoo is acting as a Web-based RSS aggregator. It centrally polls for feeds at varying intervals rather than each time users log in to their My Yahoo pages.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about how startup Bloglines has opened its Web-based aggregation service to desktop applications in order to address bandwidth issues.

But beyond aggregation, the company is working with publishers. It began a program early in the year where Web publishers could include "Add to My Yahoo" links and buttons to their sites so users could automatically subscribe to feeds. Sites such as CBS MarketWatch, The New York Times, and Craigslist are using the links.

Over the next couple months, "Add to My Yahoo" links will be added throughout the network of Yahoo sites, Gatz said. Already, the links are included in Yahoo News, where users can search for a topic such as elections and then, with one click, save the search for tracking through My Yahoo.

"Were trying to make it so people can add content more closely to where they consume it," Gatz said.

Yahoo also launched a new page,, dedicated to explaining and answering questions about RSS for consumers and publishers.

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