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RSS Future

February 28th, 2005 · No Comments

Venture Blog has a post by Kevin Laws:

One direction relates to automating tasks for you. This is basically the return of agent technology. Now that a wider variety of web sites are available in machine readable format, it should be possible to tell your computer things like “tell me when an article about gnosticism appears”. While this is similar to the stored searches on Google, the fact that RSS aggregators are closer to real-time makes this more valuable. The best analogy is “Tivo for the Web” – specify web sites to definitely “record” and the agent can also record a selection of potentially interesting web posts.

Another direction is enterprise use for RSS. Imagine replacing Microsoft Exchange with an interlocking array of RSS feeds. Each user with Outlook receives their shared calendar, contacts, and other information from subscriptions to RSS feeds. Or they become contributors, sharing one of their calendars with others. I’m sure reading that sentence inspires a host of potential objections for why RSS can not do that. Yet.

As both examples imply, however, RSS is more evolution than revolution. It is not a brand new Internet; rather, it is an improvement on the existing one that has finally pushed machine-to-machine content communication over the tipping point. That certainly allows some interesting and very large opportunities, particularly in search and collaborative filtering (see the Attention.XML project). However, after several companies become successful laying down the plumbing and infrastructure to support it, for the most part it will become a tool integrated into existing platforms (much like XML).

Greg Linden adds: “What makes RSS interesting is that machines can easily read and process news feeds. This is where the future of RSS lies. Current feed readers merely reformat RSS feeds for display. Future feed readers will rip apart the content, analyze the data, and help you find the information you need.”

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