Today, WordPress deployed a new functionality called RSS Cloud to its 7.5 million blogs on WordPress.com. This allows people to get notification of blog feeds as soon as they are published.
That’s awesome, Dude! Uh, so, er, what is RSS?
RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a way for blogs to share their content with others via a feed. Typically, people don’t want to look at the raw formatted content so they will subscribe to this content via an RSS reader, like Google Reader.
Ok, so my blog has had and RSS feed on it forever. What’s changed?
Wordpress.com blogs still have an RSS feed but now it includes information about a “cloud” item. The cloud gets and passes along information about the new blog post as soon as it has been published.
This is the difference between going to the bakery every hour to see if there are fresh bagels and having someone stand at the bakery then calling you when they are fresh out of the oven. The person standing at the bakery is the RSS Cloud in this metaphor.
If you’d like more information on the tech details and implementation of RSS Cloud and the RSS specification you should definitely tune into Dave Winer’s recent blog post (he helped shape the RSS landscape).