Sep 16, 2007

RSS agents and Instant Messaging bots

It is hard enough to keep track of all the RSS feeds we have in our subscription list; knowing when they have been just updated would be helpful, but even more tough. Why not combine the power of RSS and Instant Messaging to give you an instant update? The idea is nothing new, and there are tons of services out there already.

Yahoo Alerts helps you pick different topics from a list, or even enter a custom RSS feed from third-party site, which can be delivered by email, Yahoo Messenger or text message. Some other websites that provide similar services are Imified, Rasasa, FeedCrier and ZapTXT.

You can use them to subscribe to RSS feeds (news, weather updates, sports score, etc.). As soon as the feed is updated, the bot would IM you the summary. It actually converts the pull based RSS into a push technology; you are updated as and when it happens. Of course, you can control the frequency and content of the updates through a web interface. What is really great is that some of them don't even require registration; just add a bot as your IM buddy list and you are done.

Imified, for instance, has a Blogger widget. You can add the Imified bot as a buddy on your IM, start a chat session and pull up sports score (from an RSS feed) or update your Blogger post; all of this from your instant messenger. Kind of like Twitter, which also has the same functionality. You can also create your own widgets and customise it to your requirements.

What is really great about using IM as a platform is that you can use your mobile phone's IM client to access the services anywhere, anytime. You are waiting for your bus, and in comes a new instant message : "Manchester United 2 : Liverpool 1 FT". No more expensive text messages, no more manual browsing!

More Bots

As you may know, Google Talk uses the Jabber protocol. Add eliza at (in the usual email id format) as a contact in your Gmail account and you can start up a chat session with a bot.

There are also lot of Jabber bots that can provide weather, dictionary and mail notifications. (Jabber bots and IM Bots for Jabber). Please do leave a comment if you find other interesting services/bots.

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