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By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-05-19 Print this article Print

Meanwhile, MSN plans to release in another two or three weeks a third version of Start, its Web-based aggregator prototype available through the site. In a demonstration, Von Haden showed how users will be able to toggle between viewing headlines to full feeds and posts, which appear in a window that overlays the Web page. MSN also is focused on continuing to improve the speed of the service. Start was built using a set of Web development tools known as AJAX, or Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. The approach allows individual elements in a page to be updated without needing to refresh the entire Web page.
Among other things, the previous Start versions let users subscribe to RSS and Atom feeds, organize them into categories, conduct searches through MSN search and store search history.
"This could easily be a home page, and you would not need to touch it," he said. Holden emphasized that MSN has no product plans yet for Start but wants to increasingly release technology previews of projects to gain early user feedback. MSN and Yahoo have been the earliest of the major Internet companies to embrace RSS, and Yahoo also was using the Syndicate Conference as an opportunity to rally support for its syndication efforts. Yahoo this week released Version 1.0 of a specification called Media RSS that extends RSS to support multimedia, including video and audio. Yahoo has been using Media RSS to accept submissions from Web publishers for its video search engine. It has received thousands of Media RSS submissions so far, but Yahoo next wants to gain more support for consuming media published through the specification from RSS readers and Web sites, said Bradley Horowitz, Horowitz led a session explaining Media RSS to attendees, which included both publishers and aggregators. "It was always the intention that this is not something Yahoo would own or be too closely associated with," he said during an interview. But within the company, Yahoo plans to use Media RSS to deliver multimedia content. A feature from Flickr lets Web sites add a Flash-based widget for displaying a feed of Flickr photos. Yahoo is working to instead use Media RSS as the underpinnings of the Flickr widget, Horowitz said. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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