Google Don’t Do RSS

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Google Don’t Do RSS

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It must be a scandal of some sort:

Google leads the web in so many things – search, Ajax, web-based email, location & map services, you name it. But why on earth does Google not support RSS?

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is the best and easiest way to keep in touch with a lot of different sites. Everyone and his dog is coming out with RSS feeds. It’s particularly useful for news sites or blogs, which change often.

Such as Google News.

Unfortunately, you can’t get an RSS feed for that site. Nor for this one, or any of the other Google News sites. Just image how useful RSS would be for Gmail. Or saved searches on Froogle.

[ update July 12: Gmail does support RSS – my mistake. I believe this is the only Google service that does … ]

So why is it not happening?

Well, the answer is fairly obvious: Google has not yet perfected its ad-serving technology in the RSS world.

Google has a beta program in place right now – which I’ve signed up for but have not yet been accepted into – for putting ads into RSS feeds. This is absolutely essential for Google, since more and more web traffic is moving to feeds – as I’ve previously noted. And, as we all know, ads represent more than 95% of Google revenue.

What’s taking Google so long? One would think that traffic must be suffering at non-RSS sites. I can very clearly see a difference in my own visiting patterns – I hardly check Google News lately. I used to check it several times a day, and now if I’m lucky, I may check it a couple times a week.

Actually, if Google is lucky. After all, Google only makes money when people visit its sites. And when I’ve got RSS, I’ve got a lot less reason to go on random trolling expeditions. News comes to me, not the other way around.

So for Google, this is mission critical.


2 Comments

Gabriel

July 12, 2005at 8:36 am

Gmail supports RSS for unread messages in your inbox. You’ll notice RSS icons in Safari and Firefox appear after you log into Gmail.

John Koetsier

July 12, 2005at 8:44 am

In fact I do – thanks for noting it.

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