RSS and Google – Jargon or Standards?

Yesterday, Richard MacManus of Read/Write Web wrote about Google’s (inevitable) entrance into the world not of “RSS” but of “Feeds”.

As evident on Google News, both RSS and Atom feeds are available (in version 2.0 and 0.3 respectively). The important point, as articulated by MacManus is that Google does not seem to be hot on using only RSS, which to this point has appeared to be the unspoken standard for syndication. He writes:

I’m conflicted on this. I’d like ‘RSS’ to continue as the brand name for syndication and feeds. But I also want mainstream adoption – and if Microsoft and Google achieve that by promoting ‘feeds’, well I guess NY Times, BBC and the others will follow suit in due course and it’ll be happily ever after for syndication.

…This post has attracted some excellent comments. Most people seem to prefer “feeds” as the brand of RSS (and yes I’m using the word ‘brand’ far too often these days!). MSN’s Mike Torres pointed out that HTML pages are known as “web pages”, so it’s appropriate that RSS feeds be called “web feeds”

I agree with those sentiments. Google’s move to re-brand ‘RSS’ to ‘Feed’ is a good one. But my fear is that the verdict is still out on which syndication technology will win out in the end. Google might be unsure too, thus prompting their promotion of “Feeds” and not “RSS”.

Competing syndication standards would be a very bad thing (i.e., RSS vs. Atom). Cutting through some of the New Internet jargon, however, will definitely help the average-Joe Internet better understand these new technologies. And on that account, I am all for referring to RSS as a “Feed”.