Google’s Newfound Fascination With RSS


Google, a company which revolutionalised the Internet search has finally started to use RSS in a big way. It was more than an obvious move for Google to start looking into this ever-growing market. As the other web giants Yahoo! and MSN keep on enhancing the different uses of RSS, in this article we analyze how Google is contributing to “operation syndication”.

Google News Feeds

Previously, the term “feeds” was synonymous to Google News, another big service provided by Google. Since Google didn’t give any support to RSS or Atom feeds, programmers started to scrap headlines off Google News. And these headlines were then displayed on another Web site.

However, now you see Google supports both RSS and Atom feeds. Reportedly Google News team had been receiving a lot of feature requests for RSS feed support. And that’s why the company decided to give a dose of news through both the syndication flavors, Atom and RSS. This shows that even Google couldn’t ignore the growing popularity of RSS.

It still took Google a long time before they actually started on with the Google News feeds. But even now Google’s support has only been added to Google News content and has not been extended to it’s standard web search. Even though Yahoo! has started to provide News feeds just for that one specific keyword. For example, if you would like to follow news that mentions “George Bush”, you can do that perfectly. This hasn’t been implemented by Google as of yet, but might be soon.

Re-use of Google RSS feed content is officially limited to non-commercial uses and requires complete credentials of all the individual sources included, Google itself and the publication of the search terms and criteria used to create the feed. Will these restrictions really help Google to harness the true power of RSS? Well, now that’s another question!

Google’s RSS Ad Patent

“Google Files for RSS Ad Patent” – That seems to be the hottest topic been going around the Internet for some time now. Another classic example of the web getting “Googlized”, as the world’s biggest search engine revs up to dominate the RSS ad market.

If you still didn’t get what exactly I’m talking about here, Google has filed for a patent with the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) for embedding advertisements into syndicated RSS and Atom feeds.

According to the abstract, the patent is all about a method for “incorporating targeted ads into information in a syndicated presentation format in an automated manner.” This goes beyond RSS or Atom feeds, as it pertains to syndicated formats on the whole.

However, Google wasn’t the first to jump in the RSS ad bandwagon. Companies like Pheedo and Kanoodle had already started trying their hand at it long back. If we see the positive side of this, Google taking it’s own protection measures in the RSS ad bracket, is itself a big proof about the potential of this growing technology. The filing is not astonishing though, for a firm of it’s size can delve much deeper.

Quoting from Pheedo’s official blog “Google is not going to own RSS advertising. At best, Google may gain some protection for its specific techniques and methods of inserting and tracking ads in syndicated content.” All I can say is, Google is surely making huge strides in the RSS sector but everything does have a limit.

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