Have podcasts delivered directly to your email

By Mark O’Neill

A recent comment by Melyvn on one of my past articles got me thinking. The article was about the built-in MP3 player in Gmail and Melyvn asked if it was possible for podcasts to be delivered directly to email. My instinctive reply was “no” but then I thought “was it actually possible?”.

I found out that it actually is (to a point) using a service called either ZapTXT or RSSFwd. Both of these services are ones which take your RSS subscriptions and sends them to your email. Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion is a big fan of RSSfwd and I too have often found it useful for maintaining an email archive of Lifehacker posts. But lately I have been won over by ZapTXT which seems to be a lot more reliable and faster. Plus the team behind ZapTXT are extremely nice.

So you would basically subscribe to the desired podcast using their RSS feed and then run it through one of the RSS to email services. As I said, I personally prefer ZapTXT but RSSFwd is OK too.

Note however that the podcast itself would not actually be physically downloaded to your email (that would require your email password and FTP access), but instead, the podcast link would be emailed to you. A pathetic cop-out you say? Not really. If you use Gmail (and what self-respecting geek doesn’t have Gmail?), the MP3 player is automatically attached to the email if a MP3 file or link is detected.

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So using the attached Gmail MP3 player (which works remarkably well), you can listen to the podcast inside your Gmail account without having to download it first. So in that way, the podcast has been delivered to your email for you to listen to.

But if you wanted to save the podcast for archival purposes, you would have to right-click on the “original audio source” link and save the file to your computer.

So probably not exactly everything that Melvyn was looking for but not bad either.