Last night Yahoo! announced they are integrating an RSS Reader into the new Yahoo! Mail service, currently in beta and invitation-only. You can select from a list of popular feeds, such as NY Times and Salon.com, or manually enter a feed URL. It has (or will have soon) features such as ability to forward posts via email, a little "gleam" when there is updated RSS content, a "river of news" view that shows you all posts from all of your feeds from newest to oldest, and lots more.
Yahoo! has also launched feed alerts, a feature built on the Yahoo! Alerts platform that notifies you of email, IM, or mobile phone when a blog or other feed you've subscribed to updates or changes.
Senior Director of Personalization Products at Yahoo! Scott Gatz explained:
"RSS in mail makes perfect sense for a few reasons: 1) people already spend a lot of time in their Mail experience, why shouldn’t personally relevant content be there too 2) While you read RSS you are probably gonna want to forward good stuff you find 3) Hundreds of millions of users use Yahoo Mail, so if we want to reach the masses, we need to go where they are."
PodTech has an interview with Gatz and Ethan Diamond, Director Product Management - Yahoo! Mail. In the interview they explain Yahoo's strategy to "bring RSS to the masses", which started nearly two years ago when Yahoo launched RSS in the My Yahoo portal in January 2004.
This is all indicative of an "RSS Everywhere" strategy, as Ben Barren put it, that Yahoo! is in the midst of building out. Microsoft has a similar strategy with RSS, as demonstrated by announcements this year that they'll integrate RSS into the Vista OS and within Windows Live, plus extend RSS with SSE. It'll be fascinating to see if Google follows suit and adds RSS into Gmail. There've been hints of that in the past, but nothing definite. I sense that Google is falling behind in the RSS plays and allowing Yahoo and Microsoft to steal a march on them.