RSS ain’t dead yet

I was sorry to read that Google is dismantling their RSS reader. It really was the best on the market. But, given how Google has been behaving lately, this is another aggressive move to force us the user-sheep to migrate to Google Plus and Google Now.

However, I think this is a shame. When the internet started out, it was diverse, vibrant and non-standard. It was anarchic and full of open spaces and danger. That was awesome. There was adventure. Each site was individual and unique and not constrained by a single standard, like “Make the AOL users like you! Be nice! Flatter them! Lie to them!”

Then along came Google.

Now, everything’s standard. Wikipedia is the first search result for any known term. Every site uses Google, Facebook or Twitter for its login. The content all sounds the same, and it’s all sanitized. Why? Unsanitized content is not popular, so it drops out of Google’s popularity-based rankings.

It used to be I could visit a dozen different sites and see a dozen different things. Now, there’s a post on Facebook, Google or Twitter with a dozen people saying the same thing.

RSS, by the way, was a fist in the face of this creeping normalization. RSS let you keep track of what others were doing, by using a single interface, which then linked to the diversity of the web. It was a true index, not a “civilizing” influence that boiled all the joy out of the internet.

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