Saturday, February 24, 2007

RSS readers dead? Depends on how you define "reader."

Here's a headline that grabbed my attention: The RSS reader is dead.

I'm a big fan of RSS in general and readers in particular; my reader of choice (Google Reader) has had a huge impact on my ability to find and sort through all kinds of information, from blogs to news.

Ed Bott offers some statistics to support that claim, and they're interesting... except that I have an issue with his definition of "RSS reader," which seems to be standalone reader software, but not web based applications (like the aforementioned Google Reader).

That is, I think, a distinction without meaning. What I see in the stats is that most people are consuming RSS feeds through web apps like Google Reader, Bloglines, Newsgator Online, browser tools like Firefox's Live Bookmarks and IE7, and portals like Google and Yahoo home pages.

I'd say those are all RSS readers. Now, I agree with the idea that the standalone reader is dead... sort of. I don't think it was ever alive; they serve a niche, but for most people, they weren't ever appealing, and probably never will be.

So the "reader" is dead, but the reader rules! Long live the reader!

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