A few days ago, in my blog post entitled Some Thoughts on the IE 7 Beta 2 Preview release
I described the RSS features of IE 7 as unsatisfactory and
disappointing. It seems I'm not the only one who dislikes what the
Internet Explorer team has done with RSS.
In his post RSS Is a Glorified "Favorites" Feature Scott Karp writes
in Internet Explorer 7!!! The blogosphere is shouting from the rooftops.
Yawn. I tried RSS in IE7, and it highlights the true shortcoming of current RSS
applications — it’s really not much of an improvement over “favorites” or
IE7 goes so far as to put the RSS reader in same menu as favorites (or as TDavid puts it “A separate
“Feed Center” exists inside the Favorites area.”), which appears in a left-hand
experience? That it “automatically updates”? That I can get everything all in
one place? That it highlights what’s new?
In his post RSS Really Sucks Paul Kedrosky writes
A while back I wrote that RSS sucks, and now that
I've had some more time to think about it I've come to a deeper and more nuanced
conclusion: RSS Really Sucks. The point was driven home recently as I
read articles by people arguing that IE7 from Microsoft does RSS well enough to
kill off a few standalone aggregators. I suppose, although that's a little like
saying that buggy whips drive milk-wagons so well that people will soon stop
using willow branches to goad horses.
Why? Because, as Scott Karp points
out, the IE7 RSS implementation is as glorified "favorites" -- bookmarks, in
other words. And they are particularly irritating bookmarks, ones that
continually change and needle you as more "information" (I use that advisedly)
comes beeping and streaming into your computer.
The main reason I am so irritated by IE 7's lackluster user
experience around RSS is that you only get one chance to make a
first impression. Using IE 7 will be the first time millions of people
will be introduced to RSS and it would be unfortunate if they come away
from thinking that is potentially transformative and liberating
technology is simply a kind of "bookmarks that nag you all the time"
I've heard some people say that if Microsoft integrates a high quality RSS
reader into the browser then it would kill the desktop aggregator
market which is the kind of thing Microsoft gets in legal trouble for
all the time. My response? That is Death by Risk Aversion.
What matters is making end users happy, not worrying about making
features that suck just enough that people have to go out and buy
software that does the job well so we don't get in legal trouble.