Many of us have come to realize how useful RSS is when it comes to tracking news headlines or your favorite blogs. It’s a great way to keep up without having to visit many websites. What most people don’t know is that RSS is an incredibly flexible technology that can do all sorts of other things.
The following list is a collection of 25 alternative uses for RSS. We hope you’ll find some of them useful.
Track Specific News Headlines: You can keep track of news on particular topics by subscribing to specific news search results. Here’s a constantly updated news search on the Seattle Seahawks via Google. Here’s another by Yahoo! that tracks the headlines coming in on the U.S. Supreme Court. To subscribe, just do your search and find the RSS feed link.
New Homes: realtors can provide updated feeds of new home listings on the market.
Find Shopping Deals: Another cool use of RSS is the ability to get entries when a shopping deal or coupon comes along. Slickdeals (feed), Ben’s Bargains (feed) and MoreStuff4Less (feed) are just a few of the feeds out there.
Forum Headlines: support forums can provide a listing of new forum threads.
Track Packages: Nobody enjoys visiting a site and punching in a tracking number just to get shipment status on a package. Simpletracking.com allows you to create a custom feed that gets updated as your package moves along its route. UPS, Fedex, USPS & DHL are supported.
Schools: Schools can relay homework assignments & quickly announce school announcements. Big resource for online learners Qoolsqool.
Create a Calendar Feed: This is a cool way to share events with others. RSSCalendar.com allows you to create an account, add events & meetngs, and then share a feed for others to consume. They can use a standard feed reader or the RSSCalendar.com site to keep track of past or upcoming events, deadlines or holidays.
Law Enforcement: Let the community know of location & status of sex offenders as they move into a community.
TV Listings Via RSS: Track programming on your favorite TV channels via Bootleg RSS.
Track Weather: Get weather updates via RSSWeather. Here’s the weather in New York City as of this posting.
Product prices/comparison: Pricefish.com allows you to select a product and subscribe to an RSS feed featuring the latest lowest prices for that product.
Keep Up With Specific Emails Via RSS: Mailbucket will pump any emails into a feed that you forward to email@example.com. Just create an Outlook rule against whatever (e.g. emails from particular senders) and get the sent out to a feed once they come in. Just keep in mind that such feeds are unencrypted and can be consumed by others.
Get Some General Knowledge On A Regular Basis: Not that you need it, but you can enrich your mind and impress people at cocktail parties by subscribing to daily feeds that send along a Word Of The Day (via Wordsmith.org), Quote of the Day (via Brainy Quote), or how about a bit of wisdom with a daily fortune cookie?
Follow Your Favorite Comics: Tapestry Comics keeps track of a whole bunch of RSS feeds including Dilbert and Peanuts.
Sports Team RSS Feeds: Follow the goings-on of your favorite sports team. Yahoo! delivers feeds for professional baseball, football, hockey and basketball. Now that the 2006 World Cup is upon us, Yahoo! has you covered with a feed for every participating team.
Deliver Your Contacts Via RSS: If you need to keep track of your contacts on different machines or want to share your contacts with friends, RSSContact.com allows you to create a feed and upload your contact information to do just that.
Get Notified On Travel Deals: Looking to pounce on a good deal to a particular destination? Get notified on deals to particular cities. Travelocity let’s you build your own custom feed for tracking. Orbitz tracks a whole bunch of feeds to a many cities.
Track Job Openings: You can easily keep tabs on openings for particular positions in particular locales with Indeed’s simple job searching site. Or try Hotjob’s feeds through their service (any search can be delivered as a feed).
Log Referring Links To Your Site: Here’s a cool one for blogs. Track who’s visiting your site via Referrer Madness. Simply drop one line of code in your pages and track the link provided. No account required.
Be A Knowledgable Citizen: Stay on top of important government news and information with FirstGov’s RSS feeds.
Recipe Syndication: Track 4 and 5 star recipes or subscribe to the recipes of your favorite chef’s with Big Oven’s RSS feeds.
Get Your City’s Latest Traffic: Traffic.com delivers RSS feeds of traffic information for most major U.S. cities.
Track Movie Openings & Reviews: Find out about theatrical & DVD releases as they happen (as well as reviews and upcoming releases) with Movies.com’s feed list.
Keep Tabs On Medical Information: Hubmed.org delivers Pubmed (a service of the National Library of Medicine) search results in RSS.
Stay On Top Of Virus & Security Threats: Sophos (feeds), Trend Micro (feeds) and Viruslist.com (feeds) all provide feeds to stay on top of viruses and other security threats.
Download TV Shows: This is a bit more involved than just subscribing. RSS & Bittorrent make a nice match. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to subscribe to your favorite TV shows.
Airlines: To report flight delays, discounted fairs, special fare schemes, etc.
Bring Humor Into Your Life: Yes, RSS can deliver joy (maybe) into your life with a joke a day. Joke feeds are provided by Yahooligans and Comedy Central.
Pull In Those Video Snippets: Our ever-shortening attention spans are loving those 1-2 minute video clips flying around. Youtube provides RSS feeds of all their major categories. del.icio.us also has a popular videos feed.
Sticky Notes + RSS: Webnote allows you to keep notes & subscribe to a feed that delivers them.
Track Ebay: For person that just can’t stop buying porcelain puppies, you can track ebay auctions via RSSAuctions.com and feedback.net.
There are still many possibilities with RSS. I just wanted to get your gears spinning. If you’ve got additional sources of alternative uses, feel free to add them here in comments.