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October 01, 2010

Google kills faux-RSS feeds (for RSS followers of photography sites without an actual RSS feed)

If you follow photography websites on Google Reader that don't have a native RSS feed (eg Thom Hogan, Bob Atkins, Kurt Munger, PentaxForums, etc), and had been using Google's own faux-RSS tracking feature (they call it "Track Changes" feature), we have some bad news - Google has decided to turn off this feature as of September 30. They provide an alternative suggestion in their blog post announcing the cancellation of this feature that had been out for a few months. You can follow discussion of this change at the Google "Support" forums and on Digg.

If you have your own website that doesn't have a native RSS feed, some of your readers will not be getting your latest updates, so it may be a good idea to address this, both in letting your readers know about it and also providing them an alternative. This may be a good opportunity for you to set up a proper RSS feed for your updates. Visit your favorite webmaster and forum-admin forums for more details on how to do this.

This affects websites of the Web 1.0 variety, since most blogging services (Wordpress, Blogspot, TypePad, etc) offer effortless RSS feeds.

Why this sudden cancellation of this feature? We have a conspiracy theory: With Bloglines going away, Google Reader is running out of competitors, so Google Lawyers are trying to prop-up competition in order to avoid anti-trust/monopoly lawsuits that plagued IBM and Microsoft in the past :)

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