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What Default RSS Feeds will IE7 and Longhorn Carry?

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What default RSS feeds will Internet Explorer 7.0 and/or Longhorn ship with? This is a one big outstanding question coming out of Gnomedex that right now does not have a clean and simple answer.

I wrote Gary Schare, director of strategic product management in the Windows division of Microsoft, and here’s how he responded in an email…

“Regarding default feeds in Longhorn and IE7/XP, it’s just too early to know what we’re going to do there. IE7/XP beta 1 will ship with a few feeds, but they’re all from Microsoft and it really is just a proof-of-concept. We’re not expecting the first beta to be run by mainstream users so none of the feeds at beta 1 are mainstream consumer content.

We certainly understand the opportunity presented by default feeds and are working through the business and technical issues before we’re ready to announce what the actual feeds will be in the final product.”

Schare went on to add that getting input via a blog dialogue is valuable to them. Now that’s what I call PR in the blog age at work!

One clear consideration here is bandwidth. It doesn’t matter if you’re a big publisher or a small one, the bandwidth drain will be huge if your feed ships on 95% of the desktops in the world. On the other hand, if Microsoft only offers MSN feeds, then there could be considerations. After a recent tussle with DOJ, Microsoft pulled down all links embedded in XP to its online music stores. I imagine we will not see feeds to MSN Shopping or MSN Music in IE 7 or Longhorn.

What I would like to see in IE 7 are some basic Microsoft.com feeds (e.g. support/security alerts) to prove the concept to the everyday user and then a Favorite that points to an open directory of feeds. This could be either a new directory that Microsoft creates or one or more established indexes, such as Nooked. Either way, the directory needs to be open so that anyone can submit their feed and categorize it.

I also think that Microsoft should put a major marketing effort behind RSS in Longhorn whenever it ships. It would go a long way to helping consumers understand the value of RSS. Sign Elton John now to sing “Feed Me” at a big 2006 event on the Redmond campus.

Readers, what’s your perspective? This is your chance to have your opinion heard by the key players at Microsoft. It sounds like they really are open to opinions. Let’s tell them what we think we want in the way of default feeds in IE7.

Links: Gnomedex

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Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

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