The Realtime Ping Server

Next Story

Star Trek Captain’s Chair now shipping for way too much money (female not included)

There’s going to be a moment in the near future where FriendFeed needs to deliver realtime search over IM. In a response to Robert Scoble yesterday, Paul Buchheit indicated track or something like it would be high on the list of things to commit to in the next round of improvements to the system. After a series of realtime services and API extensions late last year, FriendFeed has slowed its feature release pattern in favor of incremental improvements to its user interface.

The reasons for a realtime search mechanism can be debated, but what will be unavoidable is the implications of not moving forward for both FriendFeed and Twitter. The market for micromessaging may appear to be growing, what with major media outlets signing on and blogger firestorms about the value to individual brands dominating the holiday slowdown of so-called “real” news. But in fact, the Twitter bandwagon has propped up only the least significant part of the micromessaging wave.

The tip of the iceberg, Twitter’s marketing power or FriendFeed’s “conversation”, has not yet reached the kind of ubiquity micromessengers expect and not so secretly count on. The ROI on managing a Twitter Follow community produces reasonable economies of scale for only a very few. The Scobles must maintain their clouds regardless of the effort expended, while the up and comers are getting squeezed on FriendFeed by noisier folks willing to marginalize the threads with noise. People like Tim O’Reilly apparently avoid the comments and likes, and as a result the domain itself.

The disconnect and inequity of the current environment is substantially due to the lack of Track, which smooths out the signal to noise cycle by providing a realtime actionable opportunity that can be mined after the fact as “content.” Filtering built on top of Track will help tamp down spam and bot strategies, and it will also produce a set of favored filters that will both curate the flow and keep it open to new talent.

The small window of time when Track first emerged was not enough to evangelize its powers to the general audience, and obfuscation by vendors and entrenched interests kept the lid on for the second half of the year. But FriendFeed’s investments in realtime took the baton from Evan Prodromou and the open source Laconica project and made it clear that at least three business models are orbiting the realtime micromessaging opportunity.

In historical terms, we’re seeing a battle for control of the core realtime ping server. How long this post will take to reach RSS will illustrate how the major platform vendor in RSS is handling its responsibility as the major player. With its purchase of FeedBurner and recent rolloever of FeedBurner URLs to its own domain, Google has experienced some significant latency in syncing new posts to its dominant RSS feeds. This post, when published via WordPress, is made available to Feedburner within seconds. Yet most posts I’ve published in the last several weeks have averaged over two hours before they propagate to the RSS audience of Google Reader, FriendFeed, Twitter, and beyond.

TechCrunch engineers have implemented an auto ping service to try and fix the problem, but Google’s stated policy is to provide replication within 30 minutes. Whatever the case, and whether or not we’re correctly implementing a ping or not, the notion that blog posts are effectively removed from a realtime audience which is increasingly dominant is mindbogglingly stupid. Some even suggest there are competitive reasons for this lack of a strategy, but I can’t quite construct a convincing rationale for it to date. However, I will throw out the apparent fact that Google makes much more from Web pages than they do from RSS pages.

Inevitably, FriendFeed will roll out Track, and so will Twitter in short order, perhaps even sooner than FriendFeed’s smaller team can prioritize it. Until then, we will continue to model our Twitter cloud in FriendFeed constructs, make do with a lack of filtering tools to constrain the friend-of-a-friend overspill, and look to other players (Microsoft in particular) to compete directly with Feedburner at the RSS routing layer. There is no reason why RSS can’t be an effective protocol at the realtime layer, and FriendFeed’s growing arsenal of features is both a roadmap and a toolkit for the transition.

Note: I am publishing this post at 3:31PM Pacific time.

Update: 5:01PM No RSS.

Update: 5:52PM Still broken.

Update: Finally hit RSS at 6:17PM.

  • http://cbcg.net/ Toby DiPasquale

    I’m confused. Are you unaware of Twitter’s real-time search capability via Summize or just ignoring it?

    • http://marktrapp.com Mark Trapp

      search.twitter.com is a poor excuse for real-time monitoring of keywords, given its requirement that you constantly interact with it (in order to get new results, you have to keep refreshing the page). Being able to passively monitor keywords allows people to keep on top of social media information while still being able to do other things.

  • http://brethorsting.com/blog/2009/01/04/steve-gillmor-is-unintelligible/ Steve Gillmor is Unintelligible

    […] God, I love Steve Gillmor. Steve just wrote an article about how much Feedburner sucks now that Google bought them, and how FriendFeed might end up eating Google’s lunch in this area. Unfortunately, Steve writes these insanely long, nonsensical articles with one good idea thrown in randomly somewhere in the mix, while puffing the whole thing up with with pseudo-technical gobbledegook. There is no reason why RSS can’t be an effective protocol at the realtime layer, and FriendFeed’s growing arsenal of features is both a roadmap and a toolkit for the transition. […]

  • Geoff Wright

    Understand that they’re nailing the tech etc atm, but I really just don’t see the use in FriendFeed. Is it a UK/Europe/Just me thing?

    Techcrunch is the only place I really notice FriendFeed updates.

    Its only any good if the circles you mix in all have an online presences PAST Facebook.

  • http://www.winextra.com/index.php/2009/01/04/i-guess-it-pays-to-get-the-big-guns-involved/ I guess it pays to get the Big Guns involved - WinExtra

    […] Google’s apparent lack of interest. The basic back story is that in a pile on that started with Steve Gillmor, spread to Dave Winer and beyond and how Feedburner was in danger of becoming irrelevant. At this […]

  • Andy

    Both friendfeed’s search results and twitter’s search results are available via RSS. While not necessarily real-time, this can be used as track functionality in the short term.

  • http://freeblogshare.com/2009/01/05/rss-as-the-foundation-for-realtime/ FREE BLOG SHARE » RSS as the foundation for realtime

    […] AS THE FOUNDATION FOR REALTIME Steve Gillmor has been on a campaign to intend Feedburner to consequence up and attain his Feedburner feed more responsive. I hold him […]

  • Earth To Gillmor

    Steve, do you have any idea what enterprise software is? (Hint: it is neither FriendFeed nor Twitter.)

  • the trickster god

    Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a little pony called “http server” that roamed the wilds of academia, darpa and ngo’s. The little pony was very happy to carry the loads of arcane astrocosmology on its back. After several years in academia, “business” discovered the little pony and a new economy was built upon the back of the little pony. The little pony grew up and now has a foal. Funny how “enterprise software” works.

  • http://www.krazyidea.com idrees

    A hell of Hollywood, Bollywood, Lolywood Wallpapers and with a lot of entertainment, Plz come and join us http://www.krazyidea.com ,

  • http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/13/tribehq-is-the-micro-jobbing-platform-for-all-things-job-related/ TribeHQ Is The “Micro-Jobbing” Platform For All Things Job Related

    […] TribeHQ’s real-time conversations with employers is forward thinking when it comes to Track, because it combines real-time updates with filtering and mining of […]

  • http://tradejim.com/tribehq-is-the-%e2%80%9cmicro-jobbing%e2%80%9d-platform-for-all-things-job-related/ Trade Jim News » TribeHQ Is The “Micro-Jobbing” Platform For All Things Job Related

    […] TribeHQ’s real-time conversations with employers is forward thinking when it comes to Track, because it combines real-time updates with filtering and mining of […]

  • http://myblogchannel.com/?p=8726 TribeHQ Is The “Micro-Jobbing” Platform For All Things Job Related | My Blog Channel

    […] TribeHQ’s real-time conversations with employers is forward thinking when it comes to Track, because it combines real-time updates with filtering and mining of […]

  • http://infoyourway.com/?p=172 infoyourway.com » TribeHQ Is The “Micro-Jobbing” Platform For All Things Job Related

    […] TribeHQ’s real-time conversations with employers is forward thinking when it comes to Track, because it combines real-time updates with filtering and mining of […]

  • http://www.webolia.com/2009/04/tribehq-is-the-%e2%80%9cmicro-jobbing%e2%80%9d-platform-for-all-things-job-related/ TribeHQ Is The “Micro-Jobbing” Platform For All Things Job Related

    […] TribeHQ’s real-time conversations with employers is forward thinking when it comes to Track, because it combines real-time updates with filtering and mining of […]

  • http://welovecrowds.com/featured/tribehq-is-the-%e2%80%9cmicro-jobbing%e2%80%9d-platform-for-all-things-job-related-1079.html We Love Crowds » TribeHQ Is The “Micro-Jobbing” Platform For All Things Job Related

    […] TribeHQ’s real-time conversations with employers is forward thinking when it comes to Track, because it combines real-time updates with filtering and mining of […]

  • http://jp.techcrunch.com/archives/20090413tribehq-is-the-micro-jobbing-platform-for-all-things-job-related/ TribeHQ、Micro-Jobbingプラットフォームで仕事関連ソーシャルネットワークを目指す

    […] Twitterと異なり、会話文中に何の話なのかがわかるようにタグ(「#タグ」という形式)を付けるようになっている。TribeHQでは求職者に対して、求職者のキャリア指向に合致する形の仕事を提案するジョブマッチングアルゴリズムを利用している。経営者は自社の求人情報や会社情報を投稿することができる。ここで求職者はその経営者と直接話ができるようになるわけだ(但し140文字以下)。こうしてそのtribeに属する人に仕事が見つかるというわけだ。尚、TribeHQはFacebook Connectを利用してコンタクト情報をインポートできるようになっている。雇用主とリアルタイムで会話をしようというのは、以前記事にしたトラッキングの面で見れば一定の進化ではある。TribeHQはコンテンツのフィルタリングおよびマイニングと、リアルタイム更新の機能を組み合わせているわけだ。 […]

  • http://teknolojihaber.22web.net/teknoloji/tribehq-is-the-%e2%80%9cmicro-jobbing%e2%80%9d-platform-for-all-things-job-related.html TribeHQ Is The “Micro-Jobbing” Platform For All Things Job Related | Güncel Teknoloji Haber Takibi

    […] TribeHQ’s real-time conversations with employers is forward thinking when it comes to Track, because it combines real-time updates with filtering and mining of […]

  • http://www.shootingatbubbles.com/index.php/2009/01/04/i-guess-it-pays-to-get-the-big-guns-involved/ I guess it pays to get the Big Guns involved — Shooting at Bubbles

    […] Google’s apparent lack of interest. The basic back story is that in a pile on that started with Steve Gillmor, spread to Dave Winer and beyond and how Feedburner was in danger of becoming irrelevant. At this […]

blog comments powered by Disqus