Microsoft Details RSS Plans

NEW YORK Microsoft said it would include support for Really Simple Syndication in its new operating system, which could significantly expand the reach of the feed technology.

Used mostly now by blogs and news sites, RSS allows Internet users to receive feeds of headlines directly to their computers. Sometimes compared to TiVo, RSS gives consumers control of which Internet content they receive, eliminating the need to visit several sites or go to venues’ home pages to find content.

To make RSS easier for users, Microsoft said Longhorn, due out next year, would display an illuminated icon to indicate an available RSS feed while users are browsing the Internet. Subscribing to the feed, which often involves cutting and pasting computer code with many of today’s RSS readers, would be done “as simply as adding a Web site to their ‘favorites,'” Microsoft said.

Microsoft hopes to expand RSS beyond news and blogs. It announced a technology called “Simple List Extensions” that would allow Web publishers to include everything from photos albums to playlists to top 10 lists as RSS feeds.

Advertisers like Sun Microsystems have experimented with RSS advertising, inserting both text and graphical banner ads in feeds. Google last month began allowing AdSense publishers to include text listings in their feeds. Kanoodle, Pheedo and Feedster also offer RSS advertising services.