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NetNewsWire 3.0 Speeds Up, Adds Integration

The latest version of the popular news reader NetNewsWire is out, sporting a spiffier interface, improved performance, and direct connections to several Apple and third-party applications. NetNewsWire 3.0 lets you subscribe to RSS and Atom syndication feeds offered by media sites, blogs, search engines, and others, regularly checking for updates and aggregating the results into a compact window.

The new release, despite its major version number change, has much the same above-the-hood functionality as version 2.1. The interface revision is welcome, adding quite a bit of subtlety and shading to the previous, more quotidian look.

NewsGator, the developer, says that under the hood, they revised some fundamental parts of how the program stored its bits of news, making it more robust and quicker in handling extremely large subscriptions and quantities of news items.

NetNewsWire has insinuated itself more deeply into Mac OS X by tying into Spotlight, Address Book, iCal, and iPhoto. In Spotlight, searching on any word found within any retrieved item shows a stub within the list of Document results with a NetNewsWire icon. Double-clicking the result opens the item within NetNewsWire. Photos can be copied from a feed into iPhoto, too.

The program supports micro-formats, which are embedded structured elements within Web pages that can be interpreted by clever software. If a page includes a calendar or contact entry in this format, NetNewsWire presents you with the opportunity to add it to iCal or Address Book.

NetNewsWire 3.0 adds Growl notifications, Twitterific support, and the capability to email the contents of a news item or a link to a news item through a menu command. Also new is what NetNewsWire calls “cover art”: a tiny screen capture of the home page of the Web site for the news feed you’re currently viewing. Finally, you can now store news items as clippings, which are synchronized with an account you set up at NewsGator’s Web site.

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