There is certainly continued concern about the forking of RSS. Earlier, you referred to it as RSS, not as ATOM; Sergey Brin used the same generic RSS term in a recent conversation. Theres a consensus out there that RSS is the syndication technology that people are aware of and are increasingly developing an affinity for, primarily, in my view, because of the speed with which you can absorb not only blogs but more traditional publishing information. Are you thinking in terms of a release thats going to target the RSS environment?
Yes, were certainly excited about RSS. Ive actually been using "RSS" as a generic term internally because for a lot of people, its exactly what you said: Thats what you hear about. And it often gets distorted into RSS versus ATOM when RSS itself isnt one thing, its three or four different things, depending on how you slice it.
I think it was Dave Winer who said that he thinks ATOM will just be considered a flavor of RSS. I thought that was astute because as far as familiarity, people have certainly heard the term "RSS" more. I dont think the name RSS 2.0 versus ATOM versus 1.0, which are completely different animals, is really worthwhile for the vast majority of people to understand what it is, especially when most feed readers will support all of them.
Do you have any kind of relationship, or do you plan one, with micro-content reader and router toolmakers?
We are very interested in it. Were talking to folks, mostly on a casual basis now. We dont have any big plans along those lines, but it will certainly be an increasingly crucial piece of the publishing tools in this ecosystem that were in.
Do you see API capabilities as becoming more significant?
I do. Hopefully were going to soon be seeing a lot more interesting API tools. Theres been a lot of work on the digesting side of feeds, the crawling and parsing of feeds by aggregators and search tools. But combining them back together and maybe publishing them and using the API tools has a lot of potential that hopefully well see being experimented with soon.
Do you see that potentially interacting with what youre doing with Gmail?
Im not sure. Ive heard some people mention Gmail could be an RSS reader, and for mainstream users theres some question whether or not people are going to take the effort to run a separate aggregation tool or just have it in their e-mail or news page. Im not sure what the Gmail team is thinking about that; I havent been talking to them about that exactly, but there are lot ideas out there right now. Its mostly a brainstorming phase for us anyway.
In talking with Sergey, he seemed to appreciate the idea of extending Gmails functionality to an offline persistent mode, perhaps via something like Ray Ozzies Groove architecture. In the blogosphere, those feeds that tend to support the full content and improve the value proposition of speeding up access to Web information are at the core of RSS momentum.
I agree. The offline point is an interesting one. Sometimes I find the feed reader most valuable when Im offline, being able to read Web content.
Barring an alliance with Groove, to the extent the Blogger API is addressable, you could flow data into e-mail as a persistence mechanism.
There are a lot of people doing great work on client-side aggregators already.