Friday, October 07, 2005

Google launches RSS feed reader

Earlier today, Google took the wraps off of Google Reader [], a Web-based RSS feed aggregator.

In a post about Reader on the Google blog software engineer Chris Wetherell writes:

We often get asked how anyone's supposed to keep up with the firehose of stuff launched from the web's spigot, so we're offering Reader as a way to help. Like the Personalized Homepage, it's a part of Google's ongoing effort to bring together personalized web content to make information more relevant to users.

I'm not sure whether the new service is getting slammed and having trouble coping with the volume of people giving it a try , or whether there are still a lot of bugs to work out, but I'm a little underwhelmed.

The first time I tried to import my feed subscriptions, Google Reader just sat there, apparently doing nothing. The second time, it imported most -- but not all -- of my RSS feeds but omitted entire categories or groupings of feeds. When I tried to refresh the subscriptions to include the missing ones, Google Reader wiped out all of them. Now, after re-importing my subscriptions from my desktop feed reader (Feedreader), Google Reader has been telling me for the last half-hour "Your subscriptions are being imported...".

Once Google irons out what I expect are temporary wrinkles, Reader will likely help entrench the company as a diversified online media giant. It's yet another sign of the shift in the distribution of media already underway and the migration to a networked information society.

Traditional media -- newspapers, radio, TV -- aren't going anywhere soon, but they will have to contend with, partner with or buy their new media (i.e. Internet) cousins if they hope to remain in the game for the long haul.

In spite of the impressions coverage of all of this might give, it's still early days for Internet media. So, although there are dozens of desktop and online RSS feed aggregators out there, Google is still getting in on the equivalent of the ground floor.

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