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Learn more about RSS feeds

RSS (most commonly expanded as Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries,  news headlines,  audio and video—in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship.

Web feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an “RSS reader”, “feed reader”, or “aggregator”, which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based. A standardized XML file format allows the information to be published once and viewed by many different programs. The user subscribes to a feed by entering into the reader the feed’s URI or by clicking an RSS icon in a web browser that initiates the subscription process. The RSS reader checks the user’s subscribed feeds regularly for new work, downloads any updates that it finds, and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds.

RSS formats are specified using XML, a generic specification for the creation of data formats. Although RSS formats have evolved from as early as March 1999, it was between 2005 and 2006 when RSS gained widespread use, and the  icon was decided upon by several major Web browsers.