Thursday, January 06, 2005

Getting your grandmother to use RSS

Citing the Pew Internet Life & American Life Project report, "The State Of Blogging", Charlene Li says:
    5% or 6 million online consumers currently use RSS.

    I knew that the number was getting up there, especially with the push from media heavies like Yahoo!,, and, but it’s still amazing that it’s gotten so much traction while being still so kludgy to find and add content.
Current RSS readers are clunky and difficult to use. Readers have to manually hunt down and add web feeds. These kinds of tools are only suitable for early adopters, people who see the vision and are willing to endure this level of suffering.

What will it take for RSS to get into the mainstream? What would it take to get your grandmother to use RSS?

Some say that integration into existing applications like web browsers and mail readers will lead to mainstream adoption. While this makes it easier to install an RSS reader, it does nothing to reduce the amount of work of configuring and using an RSS reader.

Some say it might be sufficient to recommend additional feeds to add to your weblog reader. Bloglines and My Yahoo have taken some early steps here. While useful for discovering new feeds, finding and reading the feeds you want is still a long and labor intensive process.

Stepping back a second, why are we exposing things called RSS, Atom, and XML to readers at all? Do they care what these data formats are? No, only geeks like us care. Mainstream readers just want to read news.

Next generation RSS readers will get past exposing RSS feeds. Readers will just read news. All the magic of locating the content will be appropriately hidden. It will all just work.

What will this future look like? We're trying to build it.

We see Findory as the next-generation of RSS reader. RSS feeds are hidden. Discovering new content is automatic. Readers just read news. That's it. Just read news.

We recognize what is necessary to bring RSS to the mainstream. We're building a next-generation RSS reader today.

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