Microsoft has decided that subscribing, via RSS, will become the third leg of its information-access triangle. The other two legs are browsing and searching. With the addition of RSS, once a user has found information they are interested in, they will be able to stay updated easily as the information changes.
To understand the significance of Microsoft’s announcement, it’s helpful to forget what you think you know about RSS. What we’ve seen with blogs and Podcasts doesn’t really hint at what a subscription technology can do when implemented in the operating system itself.
In that context, think of RSS as a means for the OS to look at XML data, process it and present the information to an application for presentation to the user. For example, a Longhorn user might use Outlook to subscribe to a public calendar, select specific events they are interested in and then get updates as the specifics change. Users might subscribe to other sorts of lists as well, or to search results, documents or whatever else developers decide to support.