Read RSS feeds in any e-mail client

These two Web sites send your RSS feeds directly into your e-mail. Seth Rosenblatt looks at the pros and cons.

"You may be an Olympic-level jumper when it comes to leaping from reading your RSS feeds to reading your e-mail, but two Web sites now offer a way to eliminate the wasted time switching from one app to the other. RssFwdand R-Mail drive your feeds directly into your email, simplifying the need to have two separate programs open, or at least two tabs with Gmail and Google Reader." Trying to reduce the differences between reading e-mail and reading RSS feeds is a big but important task for those of us who jump from one to the other--in the way it's important for a jackrabbit to avoid a mountain lion. RssFwd and R-Mail are two Web-based solutions that drive your feeds directly into your e-mail, eliminating the need to have two separate programs open (or two tabs, in the case of Gmail and Google Reader).

RssFwd offers a clean interface... (Credit: CNET Networks, Inc.)

It's hard to not be an RSS junkie these days. By making Web site updates come to you, instead of you going to them, it's incredibly easy to stay on top of changes to your favorites, your weird fixations, your obsession with news out of Antarctica, and just about anything else that interests you. Having that content come directly to your in-box makes it so much simpler to manage.

Both RssFwd and R-Mail work the same way. Go to either of their Web sites to submit your e-mail address and the feed to which you want to subscribe. You'll get an e-mail asking you to confirm you want the subscription, you reply "yes," and then you're off. Keep everything organized with folders, labels, and tags, and it's not a bad system.

Just don't forget those filters.

... while R-Mail\'s is the opposite. But they both send your RSS feeds to your e-mail. (Credit: CNET Networks, Inc.)

Aesthetically, R-Mail's site layout is cluttered and overwhelming, which may instantly turn off some users. RssFwd is almost too clean. The location of their e-mail submission form lives on a different page and so is not readily apparent. You get to it after you submit the feed.

As a Thunderbird fan, I was hopeful that when the browser relaunched earlier this year with its integrated feed aggregator, that it might win me over from Google Reader. I was disappointed, however, by how the feeds were presented and how it seemed clunkier than reading them in Google. I also found it tricky to manage feeds at home and on the road, as I use Thunderbird only at work. Back to Google I went.

Now, there's nothing wrong with the Google Reader--at least, nothing that smooth integration with Gmail wouldn't fix. It's annoying, though, to be unable to read both e-mails and feeds out of the same program window--especially as reading either of them these days is almost the same experience. The Google Reader and Gmail combo is not annoying enough to me to ditch them, but for those who want or need their feeds all in one place, R-Mail and RssFwd seem to offer solutions that's are easy as checking your in-box.

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