There are two important events that happened recently in the blogosphere:
1) The launch of http://www.memeorandum.com/ – a web site to automatically generate a summary of “what’s hot” in the blogosphere, and
2) The widely expected launch of the first blog search engine that is actually usable: blogsearch.google.com
I personally believe that, sooner or later, all major search engines will offer similar capabilities. It makes perfect sense to offer a separate search service for blog content: the list of RSS feeds is not changing often (not more often that the contents of regular web pages). Also, any search engine with a decent web coverage can identify all the RSS points. Therefore, it makes sense that all major search engines will become huge, massive RSS aggregators.
Web search is probably the killer web application of the last five years. But I think that the next important killer web app is automated news generation. Actually, I would think that automated news generation is something that we are just beginning to understand. As a whole, the industry will get better and better in the near term on things like personalization, summary generation, automatic trust calculation, “hot factor” calculation, usability and so on.
What all this means for us?
First of all, the importance of your personal RSS reader will be diminished. You will get better news coverage from an automated news generator than from a static list of RSS subscriptions stored in your RSS reader.
Second, the A-list will become less important. The A-list won’t dissapear, probably, but people will stop using them as the ultimate source of “hot news”. Especially affected will be bloggers that excel in being consistently the first in providing interesting stuff. But some bloggers won’t be affected – those that always provide a distinct, personalized spin on the current events. Anyway, it will be important to note that, in blogging, it will be less and less important to come up with “fresh” stuff, and more and more important to come up with original stuff. Alternatively, there might be some sort of “trust calculation” algorithms that will allow the news generators to generate their own A-list on the fly.
Third, some bloggers that seek large volumes of readers will try to “optimize” for these automated news generators, in a similar way that copywriters optimize today their pages for high MSN/Google/Yahoo traffic.
Fourth, the biggest success of RSS will happen when people will forgot what RSS stands for, and where it is actually used. Most people don’t understand these details anyway. So, it’s about time to have this RSS reader integration for granted everywhere. As a reader, you shouldn’t care about RSS when you just want to read news on PDC 2010 for example… 🙂