Automatically creating a long list of Google Reader searches?
July 3, 2008 7:41 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to automatically create Google Reader news searches from a long list of topics?

I've got a text file that contains the names of about 50-100 companies. I want to monitor Google News for each of these companies - that is, I want one search per company in Google Reader.

The way I've done this in the past is (1) Search Google News for the company, (2) click "RSS" on the left hand side of the results page to add to Google Reader.

But there must be some way to automatically pull RSS news searches for each one ... isn't there? Others within the company need to do the same thing, and their lists are even longer than mine.
posted by jbickers to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You could have one feed that combines news for all the keywords you are interested in by simply using the OR operator:

Or you could use an Excel macro to generate the list of separate URLs, and then you could manually paste them one by one into the "Add subscription" box in Google Reader.

Unless the lists are really long I can't believe it's worth the time to automate the process any further than that.
posted by roofus at 7:56 AM on July 3, 2008

You can try this : Feedsifter.

This looks exactly like what you are looking for. On preview though.. this will create one RSS feed for all search terms.
posted by shr1n1 at 8:09 AM on July 3, 2008

Response by poster: OK, forgive me for being a dumb guy, but Feedsifter looks like it requires an existing feed URL. I'm fine with having all of the search terms flow into a single Reader entry, but what goes in that URL field?
posted by jbickers at 8:15 AM on July 3, 2008

Just copy my one:
posted by roofus at 8:35 AM on July 3, 2008

Response by poster: Unless the lists are really long I can't believe it's worth the time to automate the process any further than that.

Sorry I wasn't clearer on this point: not only are the lists long, but they change relatively frequently. 2-3 new companies will be added per week, and 5-10 companies drop off every month.

So what I'd ideally like is a process by which a person, in possession of a fresh list of the companies, can create a fresh Reader feed. Roofus' suggestion works, but calls for a bit more typing acumen than some members of my team possess. Plus, if it isn't an easy process ("copy and paste the list here, then click this"), I'm not sure they'll all do a good job of keeping up with it.
posted by jbickers at 9:01 AM on July 3, 2008

Have you looked at Yahoo Pipes?

This configurable pipe lets you paste in a whole bunch of keywords at once for an aggregated news feed. You could clone the pipe and cut out the news sources you don't need.

Using this your co-workers would only need to maintain a text file of their company names.
posted by roofus at 9:48 AM on July 3, 2008

Screw that, I just tried it out and it seems to be borked. But Pipes is still one option for handling this.
posted by roofus at 9:52 AM on July 3, 2008

There's a better way, I think. Use Google Alerts rather than Google News RSS feeds. That will give you one place to manage all your subscriptions. Among the pluses:

--Google Alerts allows you to get notifications of companies being mentioned in more places than Google News: blogs, Google Groups (including Usenet), video, and the full web.

--Each email contains an option to remove the alert, to create a new one, or to manage all alerts.

--Email is a workable, known paradigm that almost anybody can adapt to with the familiar email programs they use everyday.

--Although the Google Alert emails can often contain more than one alert, they are still far more saveable and forwardable than RSS feeds. They're also, depending upon how you are currently reading RSS feeds, easier to sort and cull using mail rules and folders.

I've been using online news alert services for more than eight years, I currently have more than 500 alerts set up for a variety of purposes, and I have people helping me sort them. Based on those details, I believe emails are easier to manage than RSS feeds.

If you're really set on RSS feeds, then use the Google Alerts plus Mailbucket or Dodgeit, which are email-to-RSS gateways. I have not used either one, however, and cannot speak about their reliability.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:31 AM on July 3, 2008

Left out the most important part: there is no way that I know of using any known existing online news alert service to dump in a list of topics and get RSS feeds in return, at least not without a lot of work or using the methods described above (which are very, very easy and involve only typing and patience).
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:33 AM on July 3, 2008

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