October 7, 2005 1:06 PM PDT

Google tests personalized news feed service

Google launched a test version of a new service on Friday that gathers reports from syndicated news sites and blogs across the Web.

The program, called Google Reader, aggregates news and updates from selected sites. It lets users subscribe to material from the sites and create a reading list that they can sort and organize. Users can post news items to their blogs or send them to friends via e-mail directly through the Reader site, Google said.

"The amount of information on the Web is rapidly increasing," Google said on a frequently asked questions page about the product. "Google Reader helps you keep up with it all by organizing and managing all the content you're interested in. Instead of continuously checking your favorite sites for updates, you can let Google Reader do it for you."

The offering features a search box that finds material based on the news source or the topic. Like other such tools, Google Reader relies on Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, and Atom technology, two popular document formats that alert Internet users to the latest articles or postings on various Web sites.

Using the reader service requires registering for a Gmail account, Google's free online e-mail service.

The move is Google's latest effort around the trend of distributing news and updates via RSS and Atom technology. In August, the company incorporated news feeds into its popular Google News aggregation service but limited it to seven key subject areas designated by Google.

Google took the wraps off the new reader service at the Web. 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

 

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