iGoogle (Deprecated)

Feed Gadgets Publishers Guide

Important: iGoogle will be retired on November 1, 2013. We are no longer accepting new gadget submissions, but you can still update your previously submitted gadgets.

This guide will help you understand iGoogle's support for feeds and MediaRSS.

Contents

  1. Information for publishers
  2. Views
    1. Headline
    2. Headline and lead story
      1. Image size requirements
    3. Slideshow
      1. Image size requirements
  3. Enclosures
  4. MediaRSS
    1. What is MediaRSS?
    2. Getting Started
      1. Hosted Feeds
      2. RSS
      3. ATOM
    3. MediaRSS checklist
  5. Advertising
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. Feedback

Information for publishers

Feeds on iGoogle have a range of views that you can use to improve engagement with your readers and to drive more traffic to your content, including:

  • Headline view
  • Headline and lead story view
  • Slideshow view

Each of these views, with the exception of Headline view supports inclusion of images in the gadget. If your feed already supports MediaRSS or enclosures, it is very likely that your feeds will just work. However we would like you to run over our Checklist to ensure that your feed will work in iGoogle. If your feeds aren't MediaRSS enabled we have a guide to help you get up to speed.

Views

Headline

Headline view simply displays a list of headlines from the feed based on the rss:title or atom:title. Each item in the list is expandable and will display the content of the rss:description or atom:summary. When a user clicks on the headline they will be taken directly to the article.

There will be three items shown by default, with a configurable User Preference of up to nine items.

Example: Basic headline view

This view is the default view when no images are detected either via MediaRSS or enclosures.

Headline and lead story

Headline and lead story is similar to the Headline view with the exception that the first 150 characters of the description and first MediaRSS image will be displayed automatically to the user (if present) for the first story in the feed. The remaining feed items will be collapsed by default. When a user clicks on a headline or headline image, they will be taken to the article.

By default there will be three feed items displayed, the user can configure the feed to display up to nine items.

When expanded, if any images are in the rss:description or atom:summary the images will be displayed inline with the body text, while the media:content elements will be displayed above the text. Media content elements will be ignored if they are already present in the description.

We highly recommend that you attach correct dimensions to the image. If the image dimensions are not correct the Google Image proxy may not use the image in the feed.

Example: Feed with images

This view is the default if there are images either through MediaRSS or attached with an enclosure.

Image size requirements

Images must be in the size range 49px -> 1600px. Images that aren't within this range will be ignored. The proxy service will scale the image down (it will never scale a small image up) to fit inside an 80px by 80px region. The scaled image will maintain its original aspect ration.

Slideshow

Slideshow view display a series of images that are paginated. When a user clicks on an image or headline they will be taken to the story. Users can also navigate through your feed by clicking the "previous" and "next" controls.

If an entry in a feed doesn't contain images a basic "No image for this article" message will be displayed to the user.

By default, the first nine images are shown to the user. The user can change this setting from three items up to a maximum of nine.

Example: Slideshow

Example: Slideshow (no image)

Image size requirements

Images must be in the size range 100px -> 5000px. Images that aren't within this range will be ignored. The proxy service will scale the image down (it will never scale a small image up) to fit inside an 250px by 250px region. The scaled image will maintain its original aspect ratio.

Enclosures

The Google feed view supports images embedded through enclosures. When detected, Google will automatically embed the images found in any enclosure element in an RSS2.0 compatible feed, or from any link rel="enclosure" element in an ATOM feed.

Enclosures are easy to add to an RSS feed. No extra namespaces are required because they are baked right into the spec. The following is an example of an RSS Feed with Enclosures supported.

<rss xmlns:media="http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/" version="2.0">
  <channel>
    <title>Example: Top Examples</title>
    <link>http://example.com/somefeeds</link>
    <description>Top Exmaple stories</description>
    <pubDate>Thu, 18 Feb 2010 17:01:48 EST</pubDate>
    <language>en-gb</language>
    <copyright>Copyright @ 2010</copyright>
    <item>
      <title><![CDATA[This is an example title]]></title>
      <link>http://example.com/example.html</link>
      <description>This is an example description</description>
      <pubDate>Thu, 18 Feb 2010 16:40:00 EST</pubDate>
      <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.example.com/12345679.html</guid>
      <enclosure url="http://example.com/file.jpg" length="123456789" type="image/jpeg" />
    </item>
  </channel>
</rss>

It is simple to add enclosures to an ATOM feed, just insert a into your entry. The following is a simple example of an ATOM feed that contains images in an enclosure.

<feed xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" xmlns:media="http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/" >
  <title>Example: Top Examples</title>
  <link href="http://example.com/feed/" rel="self" />
  <id>urn:uuid:abcdef12-abcd-abcd-abcd-abcdefabcdef</id>
  <updated>2003-12-13T18:30:02Z</updated>
  <author>
    <name>Paul Kinlan</name>
  </author>
  <entry>
    <title><![CDATA[This is an example title]]></title>
    <link href="http://example.com/2010/02/02/yo" />
    <id>urn:uuid:abcdef12-dbca-dbca-dbca-abcdefabcdef</id>
    <updated>2010-02-02T15:30:41Z</updated>
    <summary>This is an example description.</summary>
    <link rel="enclosure" href="http://example.com/img1.jpg" type="image/jpeg" length="12345" />
  </entry>
</feed>

Media RSS

The Google feed view supports MediaRSS. When detected, Google will automatically embed the media:content elements directly into the feed gadgets of your readers consuming your feeds.

What is MediaRSS?

RSS 2.0 has support for embedding multi-media content through the use of enclosures. Enclosures are a reference to a multi-media file that applications can then download. Enclosures don't provide a lot of information about the multi-media files that they link to, so an extension to RSS called MediaRSS was created.

Originally developed by Yahoo!, MediaRSS is an extension to the RSS specification allowing you to embed images and video into your feeds by embedding additional meta-data that can be used by feed consumers to display media content more intelligently than a simple enclosure.

MediaRSS has support for additional meta-data including:

  • Thumbnails
  • Titles of media content
  • Image dimensions
  • References to the original media
  • Descriptions of media
  • Ratings

Getting Started

Because MediaRSS is built as an extension to RSS it is easy to integrate into many existing systems. Google Feed Gadgets also support MediaRSS embedded inside ATOM feeds.

Hosted Feeds

If your feed is hosted on a blogging platform there are many extensions and plugins that are available for you to use to make it very easy for you to embed MediaRSS directly into your feed.

Platform Built in support Plugin support
Blogger Yes
Posterous Yes
Wordpress Yes
Drupal Yes

RSS

A feed embedded with MediaRSS would appear as follows:

<rss xmlns:media="http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/" version="2.0">
  <channel>
    <title>Example: Top Examples</title>
    <link>http://example.com/somefeeds</link>
    <description>Top Exmaple stories</description>
    <pubDate>Thu, 18 Feb 2010 17:01:48 EST</pubDate>
    <language>en-gb</language>
    <copyright>Copyright @ 2010</copyright>
    <item>
      <title><![CDATA[This is an example title]]></title>
      <link>http://example.com/example.html</link>
      <description>This is an example description</description>
      <pubDate>Thu, 18 Feb 2010 16:40:00 EST</pubDate>
      <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.example.com/12345679.html</guid>
      <media:content url="http://example.com/img1.jpg" type="image/jpeg" isDefault="false" expression="sample" width="800" height="600" />
      <media:content url="http://example.com/img2.jpg" type="image/jpeg" isDefault="false" expression="sample" width="1024" height="768" />
      <media:content url="http://example.com/img3.jpg" type="image/jpeg" isDefault="false" expression="sample" width="320" height="240" />
      <media:thumbnail url="http://exmaple.com/thumb.jpg" width="75" height="50" />
    </item>
  </channel>
</rss>

ATOM

Here is an example of how to structure your ATOM feed to work with media RSS. It follows the same principle as the RSS Feed example above.

<feed xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" xmlns:media="http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/" >
  <title>Example: Top Examples</title>
  <link href="http://example.com/feed/" rel="self" />
  <id>urn:uuid:abcdef12-abcd-abcd-abcd-abcdefabcdef</id>
  <updated>2003-12-13T18:30:02Z</updated>
  <author>
    <name>Paul Kinlan</name>
  </author>
  <entry>
    <title><![CDATA[This is an example title]]></title>
    <link href="http://example.com/2010/02/02/yo" />
    <id>urn:uuid:abcdef12-dbca-dbca-dbca-abcdefabcdef</id>
    <updated>2010-02-02T15:30:41Z</updated>
    <summary>This is an example description.</summary>
    <media:content url="http://example.com/img1.jpg" type="image/jpeg" isDefault="false" expression="sample" width="800" height="600" />
    <media:content url="http://example.com/img2.jpg" type="image/jpeg" isDefault="false" expression="sample" width="1024" height="768" />
    <media:content url="http://example.com/img3.jpg" type="image/jpeg" isDefault="false" expression="sample" width="320" height="240" />
    <media:thumbnail url="http://exmaple.com/thumb.jpg" width="75" height="50" />
  </entry>
</feed>

MediaRSS checklist

  • If you use media:content elements to describe images in your posts the dimensions of the image should be included to help ensure your images are displayed correctly.
  • media:content elements and media:thumbnail's without a valid url will not be displayed.
  • If the width and height elements are provided on the media:content or media:thumbnail these will be checked against the following constraints:
    • Headline - Width and Height must be within the ranges of a minimum of 49px and a maximum of 1600px.
    • Slideshow - Width and Height must be within the ranges of a minimum of 100px and a maximum of 5000px.
  • If the width and height are not specified on the media:content or media:thumbnail elements, the physical image sizes will be checked.
  • If the 'type' parameter of the media:content or media:thumbnail is specified then it must be image/jpeg, image/gif or image/png otherwise it will not be displayed.
  • If the 'type' parameter of the media:content or media:thumbnail is absent, a check is performed against the extension of the url to see if it ends jpg/gif/png. 
  • If you use the media:thumbnail element in your feed, you must include the dimensions of the image and must be accurate.

Advertising

Publishers are allowed to advertise inside the canvas view of their gadgets. Additionally in the case of Feed gadgets, advertising is allowed in the expanded view of the feed items.

Advertsing must meet the Google Adwords Guidelines. Advertisements should not appears as elements in the MediaRSS. More information about acceptable usage can be found in our program policies.

Frequently asked questions

Why are my images not appearing as they appear in the feed?
There are specific rules as to how and when images are shown.  Images must be either: attached with a media:content element; or included in a media:thumbnail element.
Why is there is an image in expanded view, but not a thumbnail when collapsed?
You have an image that is present in the rss:description but not as a media:content or media:thumbnail element.
If my feed doesn't support MediaRSS or enclosures, but I later add support, what happens?
People who read your feed in iGoogle will be see the Headline and lead story view by default, unless they have explicitly chosen another view as their default.
Why are my images aren't getting scaled up?
Images are only ever scaled down.
What happens if my feed is popular?
Google proxy all requests to feeds and images from iGoogle, as such there is a caching mechanism in place that is designed to reduce the load on your servers.
Will I be able to see stats on who many people view my feed?
Basic Gadget usage will be available through the Gadget directory. More advanced usage statistics can be obtained if your feeds are managed through FeedBurner.
How can I get my feed to display in Slideshow mode by default?
Only certain domains will default to Slideshow mode, however the option is available for every feed.
My feed is in Slideshow mode but not every feed item has an image, what happens then?
We will display a place holder if we are unable to detect an image for a given feed item.
My feed has images, but not all display. Why is that?
This could be for a variety of reasons. Check to make sure your images are not too large. Ensure your images are in a mediaRSS element or enclosure.

Feedback

If you have any questions or comments they can be directed to the iGoogle Developer forum where there is an active community ready to help.

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