With content being distributed nowadays through many ways like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and the rest of the sea of social networks, RSS has become kind of unnecessarily complicated. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really feel compelled anymore to open my RSS reader just to find dozens of new items that I will eventually see throughout the day in another place like my Twitter timeline.
However, there’s still a few sites out there that I don’t want to miss out on. That’s how I came across a few simple RSS notifiers that work with the Notification Center to give you almost immediate updates through RSS, without the need of using a big reader app like Reeder or NetNewsWire. I’ve put together some of them here, want to check them out?
News Notifications is a very simple RSS notifier that works in conjunction with the Notification Center to bring you the latest updates in your feeds almost right after they get published. It is quite a simple app, as it runs discretely in your menu bar, only popping up eventually whenever it receives an update from one of your feeds.
It doesn’t have Google Reader support, so you have to manually enter all of the feeds that you would like to be notified about, as well as the refresh time at which they will be checked for new content. New notifications will be shown with the title and a preview of the first few lines of content. Once clicked, the content will open in your browser.
Requires: OS X 10.8 or later
Monotony is a very similar, free alternative to News Notifications. As its name suggests, it’s quite a minimalistic app, and even the description of the app on the App Store shines a light on the fact that it doesn’t have support for Google Reader or past RSS entries.
Monotony gives you notifications for new entries while the app is running, and that’s it. Simple and free. Contrary to News Notifications, this one doesn’t give you access to a “refresh time” for your feeds, but it does support both Growl and the Notification Center.
Requires: OS X 10.7.4 or later
Developer: Tim Schroeder
Reader Notifier is another free app that works very similarly to News Notifications and Monotony. It uses the Notification Center to bring you updates on your RSS feeds, but unlike the other two apps, this one works exclusively with your Google Reader account.
Once you provide your Google Account credentials to the app, it will start pulling all of the new content from your subscribed feeds and display it to you through notifications. And from its menu bar icon, you can see the unread number of items in your Google Reader and even pull the web app up in your browser.
Requires: OS X 10.8 or later
Developer: Rocky Sand Studio
NewsBar is a little bit more complicated than the rest of the apps in this roundup, but at its core it provides the same thing: notifications for your RSS feeds, as well as a simple environment for keeping up with the latest updates from your feeds in a sidebar that lives on your desktop.
It also supports Google Reader accounts and has plenty of goodies that will make it worth your while, like Twitter support, pop-up previews of news, a menu bar mode, favorites, and much more. NewsBar’s extra features come at a price though, as it goes for $4.99 on the App Store.
Requires: OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Andras Porffy
Bonus: Browser Extensions
If you are not a fan of the Notification Center, there are also a number of extensions for your browser that can work similarly to the ones that we posted in this roundup. Just a simple “RSS” search in your browser’s extensions marketplace will bring up a bunch of alternatives that might just do it for you. Some examples are Google Reader Notifier for Safari and Chrome, Feed Notifier for Chrome, and Google Reader Watcher for Firefox.
I used to be an avid Reeder fan, but gradually I’ve stopped using it in favor of other distribution ways like Twitter. Now I don’t really feel the need to have a complex RSS app or even to keep a huge list of feeds. I use these RSS notifier apps to keep up with the 2 or 3 sites that I really care about (you’re reading one them right now), without overcomplicating things.
If you have a handful of blogs that you like a lot and feel the need to keep up with all of the time, I think you’ll also find one of these useful. But tell us what you think. Do you still use RSS to get all of your news? Or have you substituted it with other types of media? Let us know in the comments below!