WordPress adds 7.5 million blogs to real-time search frenzy

There aren’t any screenshots to show you yet, but blog posts are about to become as instantly findable as Twitter and Facebook updates. Blog-hosting site WordPress.com turned on a new feature today that makes it possible to search its customers’ most recent posts within seconds after they are published, much as Twitter does with members’ tweets. For bloggers, who’ve been feeling left behind by the fast-growing popularity of Twitter, it’s a chance to leap to the front of online chatter again.

schema-1RSSCloud, the new feature, makes it possible for a blogger’s site to reach out to search engines and discussion sites and notify them of new content ready to be picked up. A decade ago, an hour’s delay between the time a blog post went up and the time Internet users could find it seemed blazing fast. Today, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg explains it like this:

“Right now how most people interact with [RSS] feeds is by checking that it updated every now and then, usually about once an hour. Can you imagine waiting an hour to get your emails? RSS Cloud is an extra element in your RSS feed that allows subscribers to say ‘Hey, let me know as soon as you’ve updated, kthx.'”

viewsourceFor now, the only software known to support RSSCloud is River2, a new program by RSS architect and oldschool blogger Dave Winer, who also led the development of the RSSCloud spec. Winer wrote on his own blog that RSS has had a element in its specifications since 2001, but Internet software developers are only now making use of it. Click the image at left to see an example of RSSCloud source code inside a website.

But with WordPress serving up millions of active blogs whose updates can now be tracked within seconds, it’s a given that support for RSSCloud will spread across the Internet in coming weeks. RSS stands for “really simple syndication.” The technology’s simplicity means that software developers don’t need a reference manual and a month of practice to get good at incorporating it into their own products. Expect to soon see content from blog and news sites popping up in search results and on topical pages, right alongside the very latest Twitter updates.

[Images: Scripting News]