Yahoo Mail Beta Gains RSS Reading Feature

The new Yahoo Mail that's in beta has gained a new way to add RSS feeds into your mail folder. For me, it's nothing shocking. I already pull RSS feeds into Outlook folders and read them in exactly this way. But it's nice for those who want this feature in a web-based email system.

By default, if you click the Add button next to your All RSS Feeds folder, a window pops-up where you're offered to enter feeds from places like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, News.com, Salon, Digital Photography Review and -- of course -- the Search Engine Watch Blog.

OK, I joke about that last one. We don't make that cut. But if you want us or anything not listed, you can paste the feed into the Address box at the bottom of the Add window.

What's very, very nice is that if you already have a My Yahoo account with feeds added, Yahoo Mail automatically lists those feeds within your All RSS Feeds folder. Great foresight on that, Yahoo!

Have multiple feeds? Each feed gets its own subfolder within the All RSS Feeds folder. You can click on a subfolder and read posts just for that feed.

Sadly, clicking on the main All RSS Feeds folder doesn't show you a view of everything, all feeds combined into one. That might just be a glitch for me, however. SiliconBeat says this type of "river of news" view should be working.

It's also too bad you can't do what NewsGator allows, create multiple folders and put feeds inside of those, to read subsets of feeds.

Someday I'll explain more how this works in more depth with NewsGator. But in short, I have a folder called Search:Hot where I have feeds from 10 or so different blogs that are places always on top of search news. If I'm in a hurry and want to see if anything new is going on, I hit that folder. Rather than important news on search perhaps being drowned out by other stuff, I get a concentrated yet combined view. When I have more time, I look at other folders that group feeds such as Search:Medium and Search:Cool. And non-search feeds that I take go into different folders.

The system works well for me. Obviously, it's not for everyone. But it would be nice to see Yahoo add this as the beta matures.

How about the ability to import all your feeds from another reader via OPML? My Yahoo has an old feature for this, which should in turn bring feeds into Yahoo Mail. But when I tried, it didn't work. Yahoo says it's an old import version and that a new one is promised soon.

Yahoo Mail?s full post RSS reader from Yahoo's Scott Gatz gives you some nice screenshots illustrating the service more, helpful for those not in the beta who can't play with it now.

While Scott calls the system a "full post" reader, remember that this is only true if the feed itself puts out the full post content. If the feed only carries summaries or partial posts, that's all you'll get. Scott and Yahoo Mail's Ethan Diamond are also interviewed on the new system over here at PodTech.

Want the new Yahoo Mail service now? It is pretty slick. My wife was a regular Yahoo Mail user and loved that, and she loves the new service even more. Scott kindly points to a form where you can ask to be included.

So where's the Add To Yahoo Mail button for feed publishers? None that I can see yet, and somewhat of a problem for Yahoo. They have the long-standing Add To My Yahoo button that many use. Will people who use the new Yahoo Mail understand that these buttons are a way to add to Yahoo Mail as well? Or will an entirely new user-friendly button for Yahoo Mail users have to come along. I'll check with Scott on this and postscript on Yahoo's plans.

Submitting RSS Feeds To Yahoo for Search Engine Watch members goes into more depth about getting your feeds into My Yahoo and in front of potential feed searchers, so check that out. Yahoo Feed Search & Web Search Feeds Update covers how searchers can seek and add content into My Yahoo itself, if you want some further assistance on that. Getting Add To & Subscribe Buttons For Feeds for Search Engine Watch members also runs down some popular Add To buttons that marketers may want to consider using to encourage subscriptions.

Postscript: Scott tells me...

  • Viewing the top-level All RSS Feeds folder should indeed show a compilation of all your feeds, so they're looking into why it doesn't work for me.
     
  • The OPML import feature I mentioned is an old version, which is why it probably wasn't working well. I've removed the link, because he promises a new improved OPML version that does work and better is to come.
     
  • The ability to group feeds into subfolders as I describe is on the top of the to do list.
     
  • For the time being, it remains a single Add to My Yahoo button for publishers to use to encourage subscriptions to both My Yahoo and Yahoo Mail -- but upgrades are coming to that.