Microsoft's plans to bake the RSS reader into the next version of Outlook

Niall Kennedy rolled up his sleeves and reverse engineered the Google Reader product to document the API that runs it. After posting his findings, Google let him know that they are planning on opening access to the API. Cool!

In other news, Microsoft has let it be known that the next version of Outlook will include the ability to read RSS feeds which includes the ability to drag a copy of a post into your mail folders. This feature, which is available today to anyone using the Yahoo! Mail Beta, completes the folding of RSS into the mail client where it will be indexed alongside all your email messages, further blurring the distinction between RSS and HTML email.

This is all good news in the march towards universal adoption of “feeds” as a distribution channel but spells trouble for the companies out there making their dime off a pure aggregation play. If this was a couple of years ago, I would have figured that the product that figures out how to deal with offline use and synchronization would end up the winner. Now, with over 50% of households using an always-on broadband connection, many of them equipped to handle wireless, I’m not so sure that offline is such a, “must have.” I started out using FeedDemon because it supported offline use but with the links being such an integral part of the experience of reading a feed, I rarely read my feeds unless I’m connected.

Look for Newsgator, Bloglines, and the others to differentiate themselves with innovative new features to keep themselves ahead of the pack.

UPDATE: Scoble uses this news to build his case for Microsoft to buy Newsgator.