On Friday, cNet reported that Google is testing an RSS (and Atom) Reader (gmail account required). [Check out the big-picture.] With this entry, Google is taking subscription ease to a new level.
First, you enter a search term (this is after all, Google). Google
Reader offers a list of sources that match your search term.
Each source has a "subscribe" button and a link; the link takes you to
a page where you can review recent RSS feeds from this source. This second page also has
a subscribe button at the top. Google Reader home lists your
subscriptions in a column on the left; click a subscription to
highlight it (bring its contents into focus). The new feeds (or a link to old
content) appear in a larger "box" to the right.
The Google Reader interface is infinitely superior to the "feed as
bookmark" feature of Firefox. It doesn’t seem as nimble as "feed as
e-mail" which is how Thunderbird works. Although subscription is very
very easy with Google, the interface does not accomodate those of us
who actually save tidbits (use Thunderbird if this is your style). I believe its
main competitor is Yahoo!
Where is the RSS reader space headed? It’s increasingly crowded, and
Microsoft hasn’t yet released Internet Explorer 7, with its RSS reader
capability. It’s still too difficult for the average person to
subscribe to a feed, in my opinion; adoption will lag until this
feature is seamless. Google is making a valient effort to this end.
Update: No RDF feeds. That means no Typepad blogs. <frown>