Splash! Fwoop! Znorf. It's the sound of nextgen RSS plays parachuting into the Valley, Rte.
Written by Steve Gillmor, Contributor
Splash! Fwoop! Znorf. It's the sound of nextgen RSS plays parachuting into the Valley, Rte. 128, and everywhere there's a broadband connection. Odeo, Brightcove, ourmedia, the Times--by this time next spring the forest will be thick with bees circling in search of unpolinated flowers. The RSS Bubble is here.
The Ask Jeeves Bloglines buyout will likely be seen as the trigger for this round of launches. About.com's 400 million + gave the market some baseline numbers to chew on, and Markoff's drawing of Excalibur out of the Odeo stone provided the start flag for the venture capitalist crowd.
Interestingly, a VC breakfast thrown by Tony Perkins two weeks ago produced not a word about RSS investment. I purposefully bit my tongue so as to preserve the silence until I could put it to good use here. Either they were clueless or tight-lipped--you decide. In any case, this weekend they were buffing up their syndication portfolios.
Meanwhile, Dave Winer, Dan Gillmor, and Robert Scoble were tilting with the Google toolbar Autolink windmill. Whether you agree with Dave et al that this is a pure land grab a la Microsoft's Smart Tags (I do) or somehow see this as a civil rights issue for the user, it appears likely that Google will try and stonewall this one with the Times' and other traditional gatekeepers' complicity. Me--I'm waiting for users to grab their attention metadata by the horns and use it to mandate standards for link recognition. It would be trivial to add proprietary link recognition to the Attention toolbar, with code that simply turns those links a different color than the author-generated ones.
Frankly, it's not Google's toolbar that scares me, or Microsoft's for that matter. It's Skype's. As of this writing, there are 1,324,756 users online. Here's my AppCycle meter for today:
  • Firefox: 40% (includes Gmail, Bloglines, and RoJo)
  • iChat/AIM: 15%
  • Skype: 25%
  • Entourage: 10%
  • Word, Excel, Garageband, Keynote: the rest
Me--I'm waiting for a Skype module that forwards calls to my cell phone based on identity. My Attention toolbar will have that feature in a New York minute. I'm calling it bodcasting.

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