RSS or Really Simple Syndication is as simple as the name suggests; it’s a way for people to subscribe to your blog. Many of you would have come to this link after you got an update from WATBlog RSS in your favourite reader.
However, it has always had one major limitation and that is speed. It can take minutes to hours for a new post to reach the subscriber’s reader through RSS. One reason why many (especially me) have started using real time services like FriendFeed and Twitter is to stay updated with my regular reads on the web. I have always been a huge supporter of the real time ecosystem and the fact that the WWW is reaching the real time point, slowly but steadily.
And now WordPress has announced that they will make instant updates to those RSS Readers which are using a new feature called RSSCloud (the only two readers supporting this new feature are River2 and LazyFeed). This effectively solves the problem of delay in RSS by allowing subscribers to check for updates as soon as they happen. RSSCloud has already been activated on the 7.5+ million blogs on WordPress.
Not quite the end of the journey
But, and it’s a big BUT, unless aggregators like Google and Outlook lap onto the new RSSCloud, this change is useless because it requires support both from the originator and the rich-client or browser based reader. I am hoping that this happens soon because the advantages and joys of seeing us one more step to the real time dream are too large to ignore.
What can happen?
If RSS becomes as fast as Twitter, then we could see a second real time revolution where breaking news and updates will again be sent via blogs!
Oh, mighty Twitter, are you afraid now?
I can imagine a whole ecosystem of apps and third party services growing around this new technology. And as Robert points out in this very detailed post, we will no longer be dependent on one company’s infrastructure to send updates. Breaking news and real time flow of information will become more de-centralised. And that’s cool with me!
BTW, there’s already another group who’s leading a new type of format called pubsubhubbub which is being supported by Google Reader. Expect some heated times ahead, and see you on the other side of your RSS Reader, since I am hoping that my post will make you subscribe to WATBlog