The slow death of RSS feed

One of the sad things about a decentralized system is that they will never go away — they simply enjoy a slow death with critical infrastructures being turned off one at a time.

I was recently told that Google Feed API had been shut down, years after Google closes the Reader. It, unfortunately, breaks many of my “serverless” single-page web apps (the HTML5 Word Cloud being one prominent example).

Twitter closed the RSS feed for user timelines a few years ago. Facebook once had RSS feed for the profiles, but they realized they could put everyone in their walled garden.

Granted, for the users’ sake these centralized systems are better regarding the user experiences. There just wasn’t a viable evolution path for the RSS ecosystem (or, “blogging,” in layman’s term) to outgrow the walled garden today.

For the “better” user experiences, we traded in the portability of data, the ability to remix the data (like the Word Cloud case), and with the present democracy-endangering challenges like fake news, we ended up being inevitably helpless, and look at these mighty companies to tweak their algorithms. It’s just not their responsibilities to enable their users to read across the aisle.

The next thing should turn this around.

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