RealTime IT News

All About RSS at DEMO 2004

By Ron Miller

RSS and Blogging technologies got a slathering of attention at this week's DEMO 2004 conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, with new product announcements from Six Apart, Feedster and WaveMarket, as well as an opening day panel discussion called the Rise of Blog Nation, featuring many blogging industry luminaries.

"I'm not surprised that syndication technologies like Atom and RSS are finally taking center stage at conferences. There's an increasing amount of information out there, and without the right tools in hand, it's near impossible to manage. News aggregators are finally maturing to the point where it's okay to recommend them to people who just learned about Google last week," said Chris Pirillo, who runs Lockernome's RSS Resource, a site devoted to RSS information.

"There is a lot of interest here in blogging and content syndication at the conference; I think this is another indicator of the growth and widespread acceptance of this technology," added Greg Reinacker, CEO of NewsGator, which makes the popular NewsGator blogging tool.

Reinacker participated on the Rise of Blog Nation blogging panel along with Buzz Bruggeman of ActiveWords, Microsoft's technology evangelist Robert Scoble, Mena Trott of Six Apart, and John Patrick of Attitude LLC, who also acted as panel moderator.

The top topic for this group: the increased popularity of blogging; blogging for personal use along with its uses for small business and large business, and its uses as news aggregation tools to efficiently consume blogs and other RSS-published information. According to Reinacker, a Web-based poll of conference participants found that 62 percent use blogs.

Trott's company, Six Apart, which makes the subscription-based TypePad blogging tool based on the company's popular Movable Type blog engine, has just launched new integrated mobile blogging tools for the emerging "moblogging" trend. The tools enables users to easily post new content including pictures, audio and text to their Weblogs from their PDAs and cell phones.

"Just as wireless mobile devices let users check their email from any location, our moblogging software lets people post Weblog entries, audio and photos to their existing Weblogs from their mobile device, no matter where they are," said Mena Trott, Six Apart's CEO and co-founder.

Panel moderator, John Patrick said he thinks Moblogging is an important development, but not necessarily as important as regular blogging. "Thoughtful writing is more likely to take time at the desktop. For longer blog postings I want to use dual monitors, access Web pages to copy/paste links, spell check, etc. It's not easy to do all that from a cell phone," Patrick said. But Trott pointed out that "with TypePad's moblogging features, the complexity is removed and people can add content to their Weblog as easily as if they were sitting at their desktop."

Not to be outdone on the new release front, blogging search engine Feedster also announced a new tool called FeedPaper, which combines syndicated Internet content (culled from the 500,000 newsfeeds continuously searched by Feedster), such as The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Amazon.com, many IT publications, PRNewswire, and hundreds of thousands of blogs.

"Online publishers and e-commerce sites no longer need to see search engines simply as sources of traffic and advertising networks. For the first time, publishers can use a search engine -- Feedster -- to filter and deliver relevant content to their readers within their own pages, including customized topic search and syndication," Scott Rafer, Feedster's CEO said.

Meanwhile WaveMarket introduced what they are calling the first comprehensive location-based blogging system. The product enables users to broadcast and share location-time information from their cell phones with friends or others. They do this by tapping into location information provided by cell phone carriers and defining zones. Whenever someone carrying a cell phone enters the zone, they can tap into this information.

"WaveMarket extends recent, fast-emerging blogging technology into a wider circle. Any mobile handset user can now share information on anything--restaurants, safety warnings, missing children, truck tracking or buddy finder alerts. Through WaveMarket's "master blog," everyone becomes an instant broadcast journalist on location, and through our blog, WaveMarket becomes their distribution channel," said Tasso Roumeliotis, WaveMarket's founder and chief executive officer.

Chris Shipley, DEMO executive producer, said by making blogging location-based and time sensitive, and using cell phones to mobilize posts, communications between affinity group members can be dramatically improved.

He said watch for WaveMarket to create a new blogging category: location-based blogging, and make it "relevant and powerful.