Monday, May 23, 2005

Yahoo announces new RSS protocol

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Yahoo is reporting that their new format for RSS delivery, Media RSS, is now finalized and ready to be used. Techies, of course, will know that there is a specific tag within RSS 2.0 ("Enclosure") that allows MP3s to be attached to an RSS item - that's the way podcast software works, by seeking "enclosure" tags within RSS items and automatically downloading them for you while you're away from your computer. Media RSS, then, is a new set of tags that greatly expands on this "enclosure" capability - it lets you attach just about any kind of multimedia file you want, lets you send a lot more text information about what the file is and who created it, and in theory will let users download this text information straight to their media device itself.

Of course, for this to be of any use at all, someone's going to have to start creating RSS readers for users that actually understand Media RSS - and according to Yahoo, only three such readers exist at this point (FeedBurner probably being the most well-known of the three). It'll be interesting, I think, to see if the larger web community will start embracing Yahoo's new protocol, or if it's destined to become yet another of the hundreds of protocols invented over the years that no one actually bothers using.