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Google gets a patent on reading lists

Thursday, September 17, 2009 by Dave Winer.

Google will probably protest that the patent they filed on reading lists was defensive. But it's a bad patent, based on an "invention" that was already out there, being discussed openly on Scripting News at least a year before they filed it. If you can subscribe to a feed, why not subscribe to a collection of feeds? And when an item is removed, you no longer are subscribed to it, and when one is added, you are now subscribed to it. Permalink to this paragraph

Google should explain to the RSS community how they supposedly invented this and what their process was. If it turns out that we had prior art, they should tear up the patent and apologize from trying to hijack something that doesn't belong to them.  Permalink to this paragraph

I worry about big companies doing awful things because they do them. It's dangerous to have Google control so much of the RSS infrastructure, from Feedburner to Google Reader to Blogger. They could easily pass information between those systems without sharing the information publicly. They could, right now, deliver features to users that competitors would be locked out of. All this built on ideas, formats, protocols and know-how that were contributed by others without any limits on how they could be used. And now this patent.  Permalink to this paragraph

BTW, both River2 and its predecessor implement reading lists. Google Reader does not. Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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Last update: 9/17/2009; 9:45:06 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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