RSS hearts MS: What will happen when Microsoft takes subscription Mainstream?

Longhorn hearts RSS.

Geeks in a frenzy, hashing out the technicalities and business models and possibilities, but what does it mean for the incredibly large number of people that don’t know now and won’t care later whether it stands for “Really Simple Syndication” or “Renew Subscription, Sonny” ? (HINT: Wouldn’t “Really Simple Subscription” be more user-centric?)

Anyway, here’s the deal: Microsoft is fully embracing RSS feeds in the next editions of Windows and Internet Explorer.

The message to Information Providers? Get on the bus. Get on the bus NOW.

When Microsoft makes subscribing to a blog/site/newspaper/feed a simple part of the browsing routine for the BAZILLION users of Windows/IE, a Web site without an RSS feed will be treated the way we treat Geocities or Tripod sites these days: “Oh, look honey, how cute, a Web site from 1996!” When was the last time you updated your AOL Hometown page? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

If you’re not sure what RSS or feeds are, here’s the short version: I only read what’s new.

There are 261 feeds in my newsreader/feedreader/aggregator right now, representing 261 different sources of information. When there is a new piece of information on any of these sites/blogs/newspapers/magazines/lists, I am notified, and once I have read the new stuff, it won’t get sent to me again.

I *never* need to visit 261 individual sites to see what’s new. The information is standardized into a form which my aggregator spits out in its own readable format. I use something called Bloglines to do this, although I like the idea of River-of-News style output, too. Soon, BAZILLIONS of people will be using something called Internet Explorer 7 to read their feeds.

Last night, I caught myself thinking (not dreaming) about redesigning the SJSU Spartan Daily site (I do not have the skills to do this properly…yet) and realized that The Spartan Daily absolutely needs to put out an RSS feed as soon as possible. I’ll try to learn how to do that after I’m done with Summer classes.

Moments like this, in the middle of the night, I realize I am a geek after all.

[UPDATE: As of Thursday, June 30, the Spartan Daily RSS Feed is live here. Content will start showing up in August when publication resumes. Little orange button also forthcoming.]

[UPDATE: The Spartan Daily RSS feed is now located at]

Relevant Sorts of Stuff: Scoble, IE Blog, Rubel, BBC, USA Today.

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4 thoughts on “RSS hearts MS: What will happen when Microsoft takes subscription Mainstream?”

  1. Robert – We’ll see how it goes. Technically speaking, I’m not planning to work for the Daily until next Spring, but I’ve heard a few stories about you taking an unsanctioned step around DBH now and then to push things forward. Seems like a plan…


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