Browser-based newsreaders are different from Web-based newsreaders in that you're reading the news within an extension of the browser's own interface, and your newsreading data is stored locally, not on a Web-based service. Browser-based newsreaders often have a more application-centric user interface, rather than one constructed mostly as a Web page.
Internet Explorer 6 does not yet have native RSS-reading capabilities, but IE7 is expected to add these capabilities. In the meantime, you can download plug-ins that'll do the job for you.
- Pluck: The Pluck RSS Reader embeds itself into either Internet Explorer or Firefox. It's free.
- Wizz RSS News Reader:This is a free Firefox extension. What can we say? We love the name.
- Fizzle: Another free extension for Firefox. It's still in the early stages of development. More than anything, we recommend you visit the developer's home page at AndyFrank.com. Now, here's a dude secure in his masculinity!
- Sage: Yet another free extension for Firefox, this one has some promise.
By far, the most well-known and best respected newsreader for the Mac is NetNewsWire, which was recently acquired by Newsgator. Apple's Safari browser also has limited newsreading capabilities, but has (for reasons known only to Apple), changed the little orange XML/RSS indicators to blue. That's Apple for ya!
- NetNewsWire: Built by Brent Simmons, this is reputed to be the best choice if you use a Mac. Brent's a heck of a programmer, so we don't doubt it. It's available for $24.95.
- Safari: Safari is Apple's browser, and it has it's own slightly Apple-funky RSS reader. But hey, if you're a Mac user and you paid to upgrade to Mac OS X Tiger, it's free. Our Mac experts tell us you'll most likely want to buy NetNewsWire anyway.
Over the next few months, we'll be covering RSS in detail. We'll be offering reviews of RSS readers, covering some of the technology behind RSS, and integrating it more completely into all the ZATZ offerings.
Go forth and read feeds!