Sunday, October 29, 2006

RSS readers are dead, long live RSS readers

Richard MacManus notes the shutdown of Pluck's feed reader and says:
Microsoft is integrating RSS into Outlook next year, Google will probably have Gmail integration soon, and Yahoo has MyYahoo and Yahoo Mail for feeds.

Consumer RSS Readers are rapidly becoming commodities and will soon be next to worthless ... Bloglines and Rojo both got out while the going was still good, via acquisitions.

Consumer RSS Readers are a dead market now.
This day has long been predicted by many including me. Back in Sept 2004, I said:
RSS is already integrated into Firefox and probably will soon be in Safari, IE, and Mozilla. My Yahoo already has a web-based feed reader in beta; Google and MSN may follow soon.

Will independent feed readers survive the entry of these giants?
But all is not lost. As I said in my earlier post, "RSS sucks and information overload", there is hope for those that do more than current generation of feed readers:
The problem is that the current generation of feed readers merely reformat RSS for display. They don't do anything else, no prioritization, no filtering, no help dealing with the flood of information.

The problem [should be] scaling attention. Readers have limited time. They don't want information. They want knowledge. Our job is to help them, to help them focus, prioritize, and find what they need.

Next-generation feed readers should help people find knowledge. Cut through the undifferentiated glut of information and find focus. Cut through the noise and discover knowledge.
See also my previous posts, "Getting your grandmother to use RSS" and "A relevance rank for news and weblogs".

2 comments:

Adam said...

Your points about smarter feed readers are good, but there's also a huge spread in reader interfaces. A kludgy solution will slow down a user so that it takes less information to feel overloaded.

I haven't used IE7's built-in reader, but Firefox's live bookmarks leave a ton to be desired. I use Newsgator (and have used/enjoyed Bloglines as well) and I wouldn't leave for any other readers from the big boys that I've seen yet.

But I'm a geek. And Richard's point is probably more to the non-geek consumer who has yet to embrace the technology. They will probably be using something the big guys have anyway.

Ben Meyer said...

Newsfire is the only RSS reader I have ever tried that has all of the features that one would expect a rss manager to have.

-import
-export
-search
-filtering
-search folders
-viewing
-meta information viewing
-slick ui

Most barely have two of those.