Email to RSS: Getting mailing lists into Google Reader…

I read all my news in Google Reader. There are still some mailing lists that I like to subscribe to, that don’t provide RSS feeds, but only send emails for whatever reason.

Here is the challenge: Allow me to view the mails from such mailing lists in an RSS feed.

The solution has a few components. I first tried to find some email to RSS services, but they all seemed to be unmaintained.

Instead it struck me whether I could use Gmail. And hey, Gmail allows one to setup filters based e.g. on the From: address, that automatically setup a Label. Gmail also provides RSS feeds to such labels. Unfortunately, the link looks like: http://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom/LABELNAME/ and requires authentication. But Google Reader doesn’t support authenticated RSS feeds.😦 Another problem I’m not so happy about is that RSS feeds from my Gmail account only have one line of context. But I can live with it.

The next piece of the puzzle is http://freemyfeed.com. It can turn an authenticated RSS feed into an unauthenticated one, that Google Reader can read.

Note that the service’s page says they don’t store your Gmail username/password but gets it from the RSS link it gives you, but hey, I guess a sniffer then could extract your Gmail username/password, couldn’t they. Also, the RSS link to Gmail labels only show unread mail, so the Gmail filter can not be set up to mark the mails as read. For both these reasons, it may be a good idea to setup a separate Gmail account specifically for this purpose, so you don’t expose your normail Google credentials to outsiders. You decide.

Voila, email to RSS conversion complete.