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Yahoo Gains RSS Feeds For Web Search & Discovering Auto-Discovery

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Yahoo is now the second major search engine to provide RSS feeds for web search, after MSN debuted them in January. RSS Feeds for Yahoo! Web, News, Image, and Video Searches from Yahoo's Jeremy Zawodny explains how they are available at Yahoo web search results plus news, image and video search.

Jeremy's also surprised no one's figured this out before, since they've apparently been offered for months. The answer is easy. They've only been made available through auto-discovery. That clearly doesn't work that well, given that no one's been auto-discovering these feeds.

With auto-discovery, a browser or news aggregator that's savvy will highlight to you that there's a web feed, making it easy to automatically add it to your reader. But plenty of readers aren't auto-discovery friendly -- such as Yahoo's own My Yahoo.

Want to add content to My Yahoo? Yahoo will let you search or browse for content through listings it has, but these search feeds won't show up in those. The alternative is to paste the URL of the feed into My Yahoo. But auto-discovery doesn't give you the feed URL, at least not easily.

Want that URL? Do your search, such as cars. Now view the source code for the page. Up near the top, you'll see this:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml"
title
="Yahoo! Search results for cars" href="
http://api.search.yahoo.com/WebSearchService/rss/webSearch.xml?appid=yahoosearchwebrss&query=cars&adult_ok=1
"
>

That's the auto-discovery information. The part highlighted in bold? That's the feed URL. Copy and paste that into My Yahoo or any aggregator that can't deal with auto-discovery.

If you use NewsGator like me, get familiar with the NewsGator Toolbar. I've completely ignored this, until now. Do the search you want to monitor. Then copy and paste the URL of the search results page, like this:

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=cars&sm=Yahoo%21+Search&fr=FP-tab-web-t&toggle=1

By the way, I always prefer to shorten search URLs to the bare essentials. You don't have to, but here's what that looks like, if you do:

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=cars

Next, select Subscriptions in the toolbar, then Add Feed, then paste in the URL. The feed URL on that page will be auto-discovered and added.

See how easy that is? Not. In contrast, at MSN search, you simply need to do a search, then select the feed link that shows up at the bottom of the page. That's simplicity. More on MSN feeds in these posts: MSN Search's RSS Feeds & MSN Search Fixes Country-Specific Feed Bug.

Aside from the Yahoo feeds above, Yahoo offers many other feeds. Gary mentioned this full list earlier: Yahoo RSS Feeds. Also see our past posts,  Yahoo Shopping Gains RSS Feeds, Mobile Access to Your My Yahoo RSS Feeds and Yahoo Gains Financial Feeds; A Revisit To Yahoo News Feeds for more on feeds at Yahoo.

In all these other feeds, Yahoo makes life easy by putting the feed URL on the pages itself. That's what should happen with these new keyword search feeds, which I'm sure will come.

For more on discovering feeds, see my past post: More On Making Feed Discovery & Subscription Easier


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