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I think it's safe to say RSS cooked into browsers had its chance and was thoroughly rejected. (And I say that as someone who loves RSS.)

What more could browser makers have done to encourage RSS? Technophiles love it, but the mass market rejected it.

For all intents and purposes, Twitter is a simpler, more intuitive form of RSS for the layperson.

As long as tools like Google Reader exist for those of us who do use RSS, I'm not worried. And if Google kills Reader, it will probably usher in a new renaissance of feed readers that are currently non-existent because of Google's ads-funded largesse.

RSS is now too important to too many people to just die.




> What more could browser makers have done to encourage RSS? Technophiles love it, but the mass market rejected it.

I mostly agree, but...

Browsers prominently featured RSS for many years, and the world at large ignored it. Heck, I'm one of those technophiles and I ignored it in the browser. Why? Because RSS should have been about convenience, but the browser implementations did not seem intuitive, and more importantly did not make it clear how it actually worked. All the techies I know who regularly consume content through RSS use a separate reader, and I suggest that's because browser RSS did not actually offer anything compelling (or even useful at all). I could be totally wrong about how useful browser RSS was, but then the problem is that even a moderately competent techie didn't see it and the buck still stops at the browser.


Ditto for finding the browser implementations useless. I did use Thunderbird for years, though.

The irony is that I'm now using GoogleReader in a browser on my smartphone (Android) to read RSS feeds. I still have some feeds into my Thunderbird configuration, but mostly ignore them there.

I tried the Google RSS feed reader app (Android) and didn't like it. I have not tried other RSS apps, the web-based GoogleReader meets my needs (I have a personal policy to minimize the number of install apps).


My personal opinion as somebody who uses RSS quite a lot is that it's never been that useful in the browser - or at least as I saw it implemented. Because I still have to actively "go" somewhere to see the feeds, which is not quite the point for me.

I will be really bummed, though, to see it removed from Mail.app. The Mail client has been the perfect place for me personally because I use RSS as a way to receive notifications. I use it for everything from following twitter search feeds, to monitoring eBay auctions to our own internal error-logging system.

I think RSS suffers from lack of awareness to the average person. I've showed it to a number of people and many of them have gone on to become power RSS users. My wife uses it to monitor knitting sites and to watch for search terms to bring up results on craigslist. It's really fantastic when you know how to use it. But they had no idea what it was or how to use it before I mentioned it.


The article specifically mentions services dropping support for the RSS format in favor of proprietary apis. This is bad. RSS/Atom might be falling out of favor due to XML's own decline of popularity but it needs to be replaced by something else, not per-service programming.


I think it's a mistake to attribute RSS's decline to any sort of technical issue like "XML's decline". There's nothing technical about it, it is strictly social. RSS is a way to move content out of the walled garden, and they want you in their walled garden. That's it. That's the whole story. They are rejecting the very philosophical underpinnings of openness that were the reason for the creation of RSS in the first place.


You are right that the decline is social, but it's not because "they" want anything. RSS was never a technology that managed to catch on outside the uber-geek crowd. I use "uber-geek" intentionally because it seems to me that most tech-savvy people I know don't use feed readers (in their browsers or otherwise).


I think you're conflating 2 things: RSS as format read by people and RSS as a format read by machine. Don't let the lack of popularity of the former sway your opinion of the latter.

Having to write custom code for each service you're interested in sucks compared to adding some RSS endpoints into an array.


How does Firefox removing RSS support fit in that justification? As far as I know, they don't have a walled garden.

Personally, I think RSS died of natural causes; it was never a threat to any walled gardens.


That's the exception that has some justification, I'm referring to the services that are no longer generating RSS that used to.


Since it's been available, I've preferred Netvibes for RSS: there are already lots of great options outside Google Reader.




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