One little step for a broader RSS adoption

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Last month, seeking public feedback via their blog, the Microsoft RSS team posted a series of icons for IE7 that are meant to show the presence of a feed on a page. Users of Firefox are familiar with the following icon: Firefox RSS icon, while users of Safari RSS are familiar with this one: Safari RSS icon. Several people suggested that Microsoft should work with Mozilla to reuse the Firefox icon, and not only they did, but they all agreed that it would be in the user's best interest. We're stuck with orange, but at least that's one less divergence in a sea a confusion...

rss2.gif rssxml.gif rssrdf.gif rss20.gif Manila RSS icon rssyahoo.gif Newsgator RSS icon
(I am not going to fetch them all, and that's not even a new issue.)

Now if some significant actors would agree to call all those feeds something a little less geeky than RSS, Atom and whatnot, this would be an even greater step to make this technology popular outside the circle of über geeks and A-bloggers. I admit it goes beyond that, but a simple reality check last week -- in an IT circle that is far more receptive of new communications technologies -- showed me that news feeds and aggregators are far from being widespread, lest really grasped, and are still far too complicated to explain quickly to Joe Sixpack.

Someone at Les Blogs 2.0 last week said something along the lines of "Wait until Microsoft calls them web feeds" (yours truly pointed that six month ago), and that might just be it. Greg Reinacker of Newsgator rightly said that no one speaks about "SMTP" to refer to their e-mail. It would be great to see more of that sort of consensus and collaboration here.

And here I realize with irony that this blog still sports two feeds named RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0, as if anyone would care of both the protocol and its version.