Dave Winer says he knows what RSS needs to break through; Robert Scoble says it already has. I’m with Dave on this one… I’m not sure Robert’s wise to take a gathering of web 2.0-literate blog-savvy cognoscenti as a representative sample. (Frankly, I’m surprised that only 80% of the attendees at a conference like LIFT were hooked into RSS.)
Having seen the new IE7 beta, I’m more convinced than ever about the potential for RSS, and the likelihood that Microsoft’s products – Vista and Internet Explorer, via the Windows RSS Platform – will carry it into the mainstream. The next couple of months are going to be very interesting, as developers discover what can be done with the centralised Common Feed List and Feed Store.
It was one of those light-switch moments when I first saw an illustration of Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing The Chasm theory. He breaks the ‘product life cycle’ for new technology into five chunks, with a big chasm between the ‘visionaries’ and the ‘pragmatists’. Think of any new technology, and it’s easy to identify the ‘crossing the chasm’ moment: the iPod’s impact on digital music distribution, for example. I suspect we’ll come to see the release of IE7 as being the moment RSS crossed the chasm.
By the way, Dave is right to point out the potential disconnect with online tools like Bloglines. So I’m delighted to spot this in a post by one of Microsoft’s RSS team:
When you discover and subscribe to feeds in IE7, it adds them to the Common Feed List and the new subscription is available to other applications. Not only can the user benefit from multiple applications using the Common Feed List, but we expect that over time, online services will provide tools that synchronize the Common Feed List with their services. This will allow roaming of the user’s subscription list not only between applications, but also between computers.
As more and more of us work from home, or multiple office locations, this is going to be critical. Glad to see it’s already being considered.
2 thoughts on “RSS crossing the chasm – and plenty more to come”
“we expect that over time, online services will provide tools that synchronize the Common Feed List with their services. This will allow roaming of the user’s subscription list not only between applications, but also between computers.”
I addressed this in my essay — that’s not a solution, they’re thinking you can install a toolbar from any online service that wants to tap in. That’s the wrong topology. It’s a centralization problem, which isn’t neatly solved by putting little dangerous pieces of code into your desktop OS. This is the same company that’s fighting malware right and left. Not a good answer. I don’t share their expectation.
I suppose it’s a toss-up. Both options have advantages and disadvantages; both options require a certain level of trust. You may or may not trust Microsoft and its intentions… and as an interesting aside, guess who was found by Edelman’s 2006 Trust Barometer to be the world’s most trusted global company? But I’m much happier to have a platform with the option of API access, as opposed to one without. And I’m prepared to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt, for now at least; there’s enough credible evidence that they ‘get’ the new way of things.
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