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Main > Archives > 2007 > June > Google Reader to Boost RSS

Friday, June 01, 2007

Google Reader to Boost RSS

Yesterday when I was writing about FreeRange's new mobile RSS reader I was pondering what is needed to make RSS (and therefore RSS ads) an integral part of the web experience. Then, Google announces Google Gears which allows the web to be experienced offline, including a browser plug-in that lets you use Google Reader offline.

Similar to playing the card game "fish," it's nice when you can say "got what I asked for."

Google Reader lets you download the 2000 most recent RSS articles so that you can browse them offline. While offline you can add tags, highlight the articles that you want to read in full later, and mark articles as read.

Being able to read off line from within the browser is a huge time saver and will make those times when you can't log on much more productive. Google updated Reader to make it easier to email articles to friends, and you can also create a custom "share" page that will make articles you've read available through a unique URL. These features are great and eliminate the need to purchase a separate RSS reader (but come on Google, how about a search your feeds option!).

But (to finally get to the point), for RSS to become part of nearly everyone's lives, Firefox and Internet Explorer need plug-ins or new features that let you browse the web and your feeds together. A feed toolbar or split window that gives you access to the latest feeds as well as allows you to surf per usual would take RSS from something external that requires visiting another site or loading an application. Or, even better, a scrolling news text line (like what you see in bars or on the side of buildings) that automatically loads your most recent headlines. This would give you something to do while waiting for web pages to load and saves a lot of clicking.

I was excited when I heard that IE was adding RSS feeds, but a small button that lights up is of little use. Google's off line reader is a good first step, but the lack of RSS ads reveals just how underutilized this technology is. RSS needs to become an everyday experience for nearly everyone for advertisers and publishers to participate.

By John Gartner at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

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