Google did some smart yesterday. They somehow seeded the impression that they were heading directly at the pot of gold at the end of the RSS rainbow. You can play along at home with the webcast, but I'm warning you: the first half is Google in a Nutshell (could have said For Dummies; didn't.) It reminded me of Sergio Leone's Once Upon A Time in America, the director's cut, which moved so slowly and methodically that I barely noticed the moment in time when it became a great masterwork.
You could watch the video, or listen to today's [well, Sunday] Gillmor Daily with Om Malik, (who arrived at a similar conclusion although a different movie reference), or you could just take my word for it. Google does get RSS. None too soon, mind you. Eric Schmidt acknowledged as much to me after the event, confiding that there's been a battle inside the Googleplex similar to the Redmond one that's finally surfacing on Scripting News and ScobleWorld. I agree with Om's observation that Bill Gates does get RSS, and that ultimately his view will prevail. But Schmidt says the battle is over and RSS has won. I believe him.
And I believe Sergey Brin, who did some smart in an exchange about attention in the Q&A at the end of the day. Interrupting a Schmidt caveat about the difficulties of anonymizing metadata, Brin cut to the chase: "No, no, you mean giving it back to yourself...so you can apply it to another service? [Exactly what I meant, I replied.] That makes sense to me." No committment yet to where this sits in the development priority queue, but a firm statement of intent. Contrast that with Yahoo!'s Dan Rosensweig's sophistry at Web 2.0 where he suggested Yahoo! would address their Roach Motel metadata strategy "when customers ask for it."
Or were forced into it, as Microsoft seems to be saying. That's why I suggest Bill fire Jeff Raikes and make it so. It would be RSS, guys, not some less simple variant. This is the Do No Stupid moment for Microsoft, and yes, it really is the battle for Office 12. Google's Fusion project is the real upgrade, Jeff, and you're like the kid standing there with his hands over his eyes saying "You can't see me." In a CNet interview about Office 12, Raikes talks about the rising tide of email, IM, and [my bold] other forms of electronic communication, not once does he mention RSS. To quote from the article: Microsoft is trying to develop software that can do a better job of sorting out the really important messages.
Let me turn on my imaginary Raikes lavalier mike: Yeah, if I can just maneuver my way around this damn elephant, I can get to my next meeting on getting the harder things done. WOOP WOOP WOOP Really Important Incoming Message from Marc Lucovsky: [Brittany Spears text-to-voice auto-read] Looking at HailStorm [more WOOP WOOP WOOP] through this facet, there are clear similarities between it, and RSS 2.0 and Atom. Damn that guy, maybe we can sue him for non-compete like we did Bosworth. No, that would be too simple. [Recording terminated by incoming Jim Allchin IM]