RSS Revival

Google are apparently reviving RSS. This seems like part of the wider turning of the tide towards choose your own internet.

9 minutes

Today, people have many ways to keep up with their favorite websites, including subscribing to mailing lists, notifications and RSS. It’s a lot for any one person to manage, so we’re exploring how to simplify the experience of getting the latest and greatest from your favorite sites directly in Chrome, building on the open RSS web standard

Google revives RSS

Google are apparently reviving RSS.

This vision is diametrically opposite to the algorithmic content surfacing that has dominated the feeds for the last half decade. And, seems right on trend towards choose your own internet.

Chromes product manager Janice Wong continues: “Our vision is to help people build a direct connection with their favourite publishers and creators on the web.”

I suspect that this has more to do with users signing up to paid / gated content behind Alms Race paywalls than the open web. Google is worried that it can’t index gated content. After all, you can’t run Ads on stuff behind paywalls.

Whilst Google pushing open RSS standards is a good thing, it has to be partly driven by a worry that ‘the open web’ may disappear. I’ll still be here releasing a podcast and posting to the open with no gated content. But still .. subscribe if you feel so inclined.

People are beginning to seek out the content they want to see again (even if they have to pay for it). Not the content the algo delivers to them. This is a big shift in user behaviour IMO and another reason why it’s never been a better time to start a blog.

I actually noticed that folks are building websites again too. Making platform independent landing pages. Self hosted ‘link in bio’ hubs. I love this. This is how operated for a long time. Unfortunately, I’ve also noticed that website builders like Squaresapce, Wix or whatever don’t provide RSS out the box.

A few acquaintances and friends have begun blogs in the last year and I’m not following them (despite trying) because there’s no RSS feed available.

If you post a blog post to the dark forest and there’s no RSS feed to syndicate it….

Substack built a reader because people don’t like too many opinions in their private inboxes. Yet free tier newsletters all have an RSS feed anyway? I have like, 30 free newsletters in my Feedly so for me its never been a problem. But the fact they’ve built one speaks to the choose your own internet trend.

I suspect Google are eventually going to propose/build/launch/develop a RSS-3 standard that allows for gated content, paid subscription and encrypted credentials etc. It would be a good first step toward the Vx1 paradigm we are moving toward in the medium term. Google are also a big enough stack to force Instagram, Twitter, Apple Podcasts and all the other Alms Race product features to standardise content subscriptions and syndication.

Google’s new RSS implementation into chrome looks very much like Firefox’s ‘live bookmarks’. A feature the browser killed off in 2018???? I dunno, Googles new found interest in RSS is a mixed bag. I’m not going to lament Google Reader again either, its time has passed.

Meanwhile Web3 is re-inventing RSS in parallel with content access and payment infra built in. Superfluid just announced money streams you can automate recurring transactions. There are also more modules coming from other projects soon that will make it easier for creators to set up and collect subscriptions for content. (I may implement this here and offer Urbit community access or something as a Web3 perk).

When WordPress FSE comes out I think I’m going to be a first mover and rebuild from the ground up. I’d like a microblog category for example that I can just fire stuff into.

My favourite blog format right now are daily microblogs Colin Walkers home-brew daily feed is a joy, as are JDO’s dailies (tho if I was JDO I’d lean into it a bit more and only show the most recent post on the home page).

I’m also interested to learn about the new theme.Json paradigm in wordpress and might even try and roll my own theme too. I’d like a little more flexibility with what content gets shown where as making a header image for is a massive drag.

Speaking of categories. I’ve just realised I don’t have one for this Isles of Blogging/Choose Your Own Internet type topic. Its a vertical thats been ongoing here for years so I need to set some time aside in …. July? to go back though and sort all that out.

Permanently Moved

Royal Grumble I

The Crown isn’t a TV show.

It’s a ‘nonstatutory corporation sole’.

The Ministry Of My Own Labour

A couple of weeks ago I said I was free from mid-May. I was hoping to finally get back on my BS. But I took on a time sensitive piece of research this week with a pretty quick turnaround. So now I’m buried until I go to the woods in June.

I had a wonderful chat with Dan & Hilary (the team behind the Bank Job documentary/project) about Solarpunk as part of the Barbican’s Imagination Exchange online program this week. They are working on a new project called Power.Film “Solar Punk Meets Suburbia” – Deffo check it out!

The stream went out live on Facebook so I have no idea about anything. But I do know we had a great chat. A friend was watching and sent me this screenshot to prove it.

Still nailing that Millennial houseplant aesthetic lol.

Spoke with Timo Peach. He’s a super nice guy doing some really cool things.

Discussed old school Interactive Fiction with an indie games company for 2 hours. We talked about NFT’s, MUDS, MMEWs, GTP3, and all sorts. Super nice convo.

Dipping the Stacks

Guadalajara residents stop waiting and clean a toxic river with eggshells

β€œSave your eggshells! Don’t wash them! I will be collecting them regularly for the Santiago-Lerma Clean Water Project.”

Roblox: The Platform Fueling a Chaotic Music Scene – The New York Times

Originally, the platform’s founders set a filter for profanity since it’s supposed to be child-friendly. Yet inventive users have devised a workaround. β€œBypassing audio” refers to a technique where people distort or disguise an audio file so it slips through the detection systems meant to filter out offensive language and copyrighted tracks. (Methods include layering a song 32 times so the lyrics become deafening and indecipherable, or purposely raising or lowering its pitch so it sounds incoherent to moderators, before readjusting it in the game.)

Gucci brings digital items and experiences to Roblox in new partnership | TechCrunch

As gaming platforms capitalize on pandemic-fueled traffic to their digital worlds, brands that drive culture in the physical world are fighting to ensure they don’t miss any new opportunities. A new partnership between Roblox and Gucci brings digital items from the fashion house into the platform’s metaverse alongside a new limited-run digital experience.

Why Civilization Is Older Than We Thought | Palladium Magazine

New discoveries are adding millennia to our past. The implications should change our future.

Really wonderful to see more and more normies edging toward star.ships

Mammals can breathe through their intestines | Science | AAAS

New study suggests anal ventilation might one day help treat respiratory failure


I spent an Audible Credit on the Warhammer Audio Drama – Dredge Runners by Alec Worley.

It’s honestly one of the best things to come out of Games Workshop’s publishing Black Library ever. Even if you aren’t a Warhammer fan this audio work is really really good. So much so that I reached out to Alec via his website to tell him and received a wonderful reply.

Always reach out to people who’s work you enjoy.

I’m reading Uniformity with God’s Will by St. Alphonsus on my kindle at the moment.

It’s a treatise on ‘the true love of God’ written in 1755. It’s a wonderful document that seems to be written from experience rather than in theory. With my changing views on mediation/prayer its very interesting and inspiring to read this stuff. Whilst a very short piece in the grand scheme of things, its slow going as I keep re-reading passages and then switching to ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’ and thinking about the two in juxtaposition.

Music Spotify Playlist

Come Meh Way – Sudan Archives

Eve was watching something or other on her laptop across the room and the soundtrack caught my ear.

Come Meh Way is a track from Sudan Archives 2017 EP of the same name.

The internet tells me that Sudan Archives had a rough child hood and studied ethnomusicology at Pasadena City College in California and this training reflects in her work. Across the catalogue there are moments of north African inspired song writing and production: My ear detects hints of Zamrock, the more recent work of Francis Bebey, and South African electro beat like Zinja Hlungwani and Tshetsha Boys amongst others. I haven’t listened to pop music from Africa for a number of years so struggle to bring other references to mind.

But this week I’ve listened to all of Sudan Archives catalogue. Its really unique and I can’t wait to hear more and maybe try and catch them live on tour one day.

Arrdee – Plugged In W/Fumez The Engineer

After going absolutely viral online this year, you get the sense that Arrdee is prepared to ride the wave all the way. But not without some self reflection. He even acknowledges the lines that have made him famous might not have been all that ‘cool’ β€œCheeky bars on a million views”.

I really like Arrdee’s flow and look forward to see where he takes his career next.

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5 responses to “RSS Revival”

  1. MDonaldson β†’ avatar

    ooo – Sudan Archives is a great find. I was not familiar before. On your recommendation, the household listened through the discography throughout our lazy Sunday and it fit right in. Thx!

  2. […] I’ve written about going on a ‘Word Diet’. About how I use RSS, and the possibility of an RSS revival. Last week I wrote about how happy I am to see blogs bursting back into […]

  3. […] rise of newsletters, podcasts, video essays and the rss revival speaks to this […]

  4. […] first wrote about Substack’s reader app on my blog when it was announced. My thoughts haven’t really changed – they’ve built the app because people have grown […]

  5. […] other news, following up from the RSS revival post last week. Matt Webb posted a fantastic round up of all his posts and thinking of what RSS could/could be […]

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