Yahoo gathered a small group of bloggers, press and others at Sauce in San Francisco tonight to announce the launch of two new RSS products. They have integrated an RSS reader directly into Yahoo Mail Beta, and are expanding Alerts to include RSS feeds.
These are significant new products, aimed squarely at new and mainstream RSS users. The service is not live as of the time I am posting this. I’ve added a screen shot picture from the live demo.
Yahoo has deeply integrated RSS into the Yahoo Mail beta experience. Directly below the email folders are “RSS folders”. Clicking on the top folder show all posts in a “river of news” format, meaning all posts for all subscribed feeds are listed in the order they have appeared in feeds.
Each feed also has its own folder, allowing the user to read feeds individually (more like bloglines).
A post from any feed is treated exactly like an email – any post can be forwarded as an email or dragged into a folder and saved. All of the great AJAX functionality already working in Yahoo’s Mail beta works with the new RSS functionality as well.
Adding feeds is straightforward – include the feed URL or choose from a number of popular feeds.
Yahoo users can now use Yahoo Alerts to be notified whenever RSS feeds update. Alerts, which include a summary of the updated content, can be configured to be sent via sms, email and/or messenger. This is a great way to monitor small groups of important feeds.
Yahoo clearly took the lead for best email application this evening. The ability to “pop in” other email accounts, the ajax functionality and, now, the integrated RSS reader are absolutely stunning features.
John Furrier was at the event tonight as well, and as usual has an exclusive podcast.
UPDATE: RSS in Yahoo Mail is now fully live. As Jeff Clavier says, My Yahoo and Yahoo Mail syncronize feeds – a long list in email doesn’t work so well in My Yahoo. I spoke to Scott Gatz at Yahoo about this earlier this evening and he says they’ll find a fix for it. There are a few other features which still need to be added, but Yahoo Mail is just an incredibly awesome product.