Recently ZDNet ran an article entitled Google spurns RSS for rising blog format where it stated
The search giant, which acquired Blogger.com last year, began allowing the service's million-plus members to syndicate their online diaries to other Web sites last month. To implement the feature, it chose the new Atom format instead of the widely used, older RSS.
I've seen some discussion about the fact that Google only provides feeds for certain blogs in the ATOM 0.3 syndication format which is an interim draft of the spec that is part of an effort being driven by Sam Ruby to replace RSS and related technologies. When I first read this I ignored it because I didn't have any Blogger.com feeds that were of interest to me. This changed today. This afternoon I found out that Steve Saxon, the author of the excellent article XPath Querying Over Objects with ObjectXPathNavigator had a Blogger.com blog that only provided an ATOM feed. Being that I use RSS Bandit as my aggregator of choice I cannot subscribe to his feed nor can I use a large percentage of the existing news aggregators to read Steve's feed.
What a find particularly stunning about Google's decision is that they have removed support for an existing, widely supported format for an interim draft of a format which according to Sam Ruby's slides for the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference is several months away from being completed. An appropriate analogy for what Google has done would be like AOL abandoning support for HTML and changing all of its websites to use the May 6th 2003 draft of the XHTML 2.0 spec. It simply makes no sense.
Some people, such as Dave Winer believe Google is engaging in such user unfriendly behavior for malicious reasons but given that Google doesn't currently ship a news aggregator there doesn't seem to be much of a motive there (Of course, this changes once they ship one). I recently stumbled across an article entitled The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity which described the following 5 laws
Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.
The only question now is Is Google crazy, or crazy like a fox? and only time will tell the answer to that question.