Dave, I just logged in to my Google Gmail account and am rather confused by this new Customize Clips feature that’s atop my mailbox now. What’s the story with that, what does it do, and how do I use it effectively?
The feature you’re talking about, a one-line summary of custom RSS feeds, is a logical outgrowth of Google’s other work in the world of weblogs and RSS, so I’m not surprised to see it pop up in Gmail too. As far as I can tell, the feature is officially called Web Clips and right now, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t always work properly. It’s still in beta, after all!
Here’s how the Web Clips service looks in Gmail if you don’t have anything set up:
To configure this nifty little one-line RSS reader, click on “Customize Clips” and you’ll see:
If you want to use one (or more!) of the RSS information sources that Google has in its little directory, you can click on one of the category names on the lower left (e.g., News, Business, Lifestyle, Sports, Tech or Fun).
It’s more interesting to enter your own RSS feeds, however, so I’m going to subscribe to the Ask Dave Taylor feed by entering the URL of the feed (which you can ascertain by clicking on the “RSS” or “XML” button on the home page). That URL turns out to be:
Type that into the small text box just below to “Search by topic or url” then click on “Search” and you’ll see the following:
Click on “Add” and now, when you go back to your regular Gmail pages, you’ll see along the top the latest news from the site or sites you’ve configured, including Ask Dave Taylor:
Google’s written about it too, if you want to read a note about Web Clips from the original implementor: A cure for the common inbox.
Oh, and if you don’t yet have a Gmail account, please read this: Can I have a free Gmail Account?