Home Microsoft’s Web-based RSS Aggregator?

Microsoft’s Web-based RSS Aggregator?

SiliconBeat has a scoop. They point to a sandbox version of a working web-based RSS Aggregator – from Microsoft! I had a very quick play-round (note it doesn’t work in Firefox) and it’s similar to MyYahoo, but what’s most interesting is the strong integration with MSN Search. Hmmmm.

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NB: On the page it states “This site is not an officially supported site. It is an incubation experiment and doesn’t represent any particular strategy or policy.” But it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realise that a web-based RSS Aggregator with integrated search is going to seriously up the ante with Yahoo and Google. Interesting…

Update:Here’s a screenshot that shows more clearly the RSS/search integration.

Update 2: The site (start.com) seems to be down now. Lucky I took those screenshots 🙂

Also, thinking more about what this says about Microsoft’s strategy for RSS… I think they’re going to use MSN Search as the base for an RSS Aggregator, much as Yahoo uses the MyYahoo portal as the base for their RSS Aggregator. So while technically start.com may not be that impressive (it is a sandbox app remember), the business strategy behind this is significant. Microsoft are planning to integrate RSS into their search platform. Yahoo has already integrated RSS into their portal, so which direction will Google take I wonder?

Update 3:ZDNet: “Google began testing new customization features on its news aggregation site Wednesday in a salvo against competition from Microsoft.” Here’s the Google News beta. No RSS yet, but surely not far away. This makes my question above (which direction will Google take with RSS aggregation) even more intriguing…

Update 4: The Start.com prototype is back up now and they are inviting feedback. Also note there is a second version of the prototype – with blue colour scheme, but sans RSS. Here’s a screenshot. Now I grok the name “start” – this is supposed to be a prototype portal… start page, geddit? 🙂

Microsoft developer Dare Obasanjo now has more details about the project. He says: “This isn’t a final product but instead is intended to show people some of the ideas we at MSN are exploring around providing a rich experience around Web-based RSS/Atom aggregation.”

Update 5: The ASP.NET weblog has officially announced start.com: “The cat is out of the bag. We have been working on a new personalized start page.”

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