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RSS the hottest topic been going around the Internet

Google’s Newfound Fascination With RSS

By Mustafa K

Google, a company which revolutionalised the Internet search has finally started to use RSS in a big way. It was more than an obvious move for Google to start looking into this ever-growing market. As the other web giants Yahoo! and MSN keep on enhancing the different uses of RSS, in this article we analyze how Google is contributing to “operation syndication”.

Google News Feeds

Previously, the term “feeds” was synonymous to Google News, another big service provided by Google. Since Google didn’t give any support to RSS or Atom feeds, programmers started to scrap headlines off Google News. And these headlines were then displayed on another Web site.

However, now you see Google supports both RSS and Atom feeds. Reportedly Google News team had been receiving a lot of feature requests for RSS feed support. And that’s why the company decided to give a dose of news through both the syndication flavors, Atom and RSS. This shows that even Google couldn’t ignore the growing popularity of RSS.

It still took Google a long time before they actually started on with the Google News feeds. But even now Google’s support has only been added to Google News content and has not been extended to it’s standard web search. Even though Yahoo! has started to provide News feeds just for that one specific keyword. For example, if you would like to follow news that mentions “George Bush”, you can do that perfectly. This hasn’t been implemented by Google as of yet, but might be soon.

Re-use of Google RSS feed content is officially limited to non-commercial uses and requires complete credentials of all the individual sources included, Google itself and the publication of the search terms and criteria used to create the feed. Will these restrictions really help Google to harness the true power of RSS? Well, now that’s another question!

Google’s RSS Ad Patent

“Google Files for RSS Ad Patent” – That seems to be the hottest topic been going around the Internet for some time now. Another classic example of the web getting “Googlized”, as the world’s biggest search engine revs up to dominate the RSS ad market.

If you still didn’t get what exactly I’m talking about here, Google has filed for a patent with the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) for embedding advertisements into syndicated RSS and Atom feeds.

According to the abstract, the patent is all about a method for "incorporating targeted ads into information in a syndicated presentation format in an automated manner." This goes beyond RSS or Atom feeds, as it pertains to syndicated formats on the whole.

However, Google wasn’t the first to jump in the RSS ad bandwagon. Companies like Pheedo and Kanoodle had already started trying their hand at it long back. If we see the positive side of this, Google taking it’s own protection measures in the RSS ad bracket, is itself a big proof about the potential of this growing technology. The filing is not astonishing though, for a firm of it’s size can delve much deeper.

Quoting from Pheedo’s official blog “Google is not going to own RSS advertising. At best, Google may gain some protection for its specific techniques and methods of inserting and tracking ads in syndicated content.” All I can say is, Google is surely making huge strides in the RSS sector but everything does have a limit.

Google RSS Reader

After heavily betting upon RSS by filing a patent for the ads, Google wasn’t surely gonna stay behind when it came to RSS readers. It was very predictable for the company to launch it’s own aggregator, another step towards bettering the syndication lifestyle.

What’s common between Google’s reader and its other services is the simplicity of use. The way Google designs it’s services, (doesn’t matter if it’s Gmail or Adsense) is what wins over everything else. That’s exactly what one gets to see in Google’s reader. The ease of use and how simple it is.

The web-based reader, which is in its beta stage, requires a login similar to Gmail. Once logged in, feeds can be added and organized very effortlessly. The feeds can be organized by various names or the user can also import subscriptions from other RSS aggregators or online services and easily subscribe to feeds just by entering the RSS feed’s URL. They have also started to distribute the trendy “Add to Google” button, an addition to a collection of many others provided by different readers.

Google’s entry into the RSS reader market will definitely shake well-established companies like Newsgator and Pluck. Since Google has complete power over the sponsor ad listings in the search results, advertising this new service wouldn’t be a big deal. Just type in “RSS Reader” in Google and you’ll know for yourself.

On a last note, Google is surely taking in on RSS and is trying to take the technology to new level. This clearly shows that RSS is here to stay. Something for all of us to sit up and take notice!


About The Author

Mustafa Khundmiri is the co-founder of - A Free online service which helps anyone create, edit, publish and track RSS feeds and podcasts. Sign Up for your FREE account on and also get a free subscription to "RSS Chronicle" - A Newsletter exclusively based on RSS and syndication.

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Last Update: 14-Mar-2009

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