The Pushbutton Web Now in Google Reader

August 5, 2009

Instantaneous FriendFeed notificationThere's no doubt in my mind that Anil Dash has a crystal ball stowed away somewhere at his place back in NYC. While his piece on the Pushbutton web almost two weeks ago was inspiring in concept, it's exhilarating to see it come to fruition.

(Seriously, if you haven't read his piece, GO THERE NOW: The Pushbutton Web: Realtime Becomes Real. I'll wait.)

Back? With me? Good.

Tonight, Googler Mihai Parparita announces that Google Reader now sends realtime updates to FriendFeed when you share items using the PubSubHubbub protocol.

Huh-wha? you ask. Yeah, I know. It's no Google Wave. But that's what makes this exciting. This kind of small Pushbutton implementation is how real web pages will easily use existing technology to notify one another of new updates. The Google Reader/FriendFeed integration is just the first tiny step in what will be a broad deployment of realtime-enabled sites. These sites and services will let one another know when they have new data to share without the sucky inefficiencies of polling. Check out how fast FriendFeed updates when you share an item in Google Reader in this video.

In short, it's almost zero latency.

I've been lurking on the PSHB mailing list for a few weeks now. I've enabled pinging to Google's open hub on Smarterware's feed. (XML nerds, note the rel="hub" href="" attributes in my Atom.) This means posts from here should show up in realtime on both FriendFeed and, according to this demo video, Google Reader (though my tests show GReader does not work right now). To enable PubSubHubbub pinging on your feed, you just need to check a box over in FeedBurner. Here's a helpful howto on doing that. For more, check out Google's own post on the subject, What's all the hubbub about PubSubHubbub? and Dave Winer's breakdown.

This is just the beginning of what might be done with publishers (like you) pushing new updates/tweets/blog posts/whatevers to your subscribers in under a second via a hub or cloud. We're talking about real-time cloud computing that doesn't depend upon centralized servers or technology owned by one company here. Sounds good, doesn't it?

(Speaking of Google Reader, I've been having a ball with its sharing feature this week. Here's a page of my shared items or you can get it with instantaneous updates on FriendFeed.)

PubSubHubbub support for Reader shared items [Google Reader Blog]

Aw, you’re too kind! I am excited about this evolution for Reader, but in looking at Chrome’s bookmark synching, I find myself wishing it was using PSHB tech instead of XMPP. That way I could start to use (for example) sharing links in Reader as a way to add bookmarks to my Chrome bookmark list. Right now, the XMPP-based synching system just isn’t that hackable.

I wonder if we can convince Google to collaborate internally by talking to them from the outside. :) [+3]
Aug 5 09 at 9:54 pm

I wonder if we can convince Google to collaborate internally by talking to them from the outside.

Sounds like a challenge worth taking on!

So both Wave and Chrome bookmark synching use XMPP to avoid polling. Hmm. Would Brad go to bat for PSHB support in Chromium? I may have to fly up to 6A’s office tomorrow for the meetup to ask him! :)

Gina Trapani [+195]
Aug 5 09 at 10:15 pm

Anil: Collaboration like that sounds good to me. =)

Gina: Please contact me if you’re seeing any issues with Reader to FriendFeed updates. It’s working great for everyone I’ve been talking to. Perhaps there’s something funny about your setup? Let’s get to the bottom of it!

Thanks Brett!

To clarify, Google Reader Shared Items -> FriendFeed works like a charm, as does Smarterware’s feed -> FriendFeed. Both are super-fast.

It’s Smarterware posts showing up immediately in Google Reader that doesn’t seem to happen for me (like in the CrunchUp demo). But I’m not clear about whether or not GReader has full-on hub/subscriber support built-in (yet).

Gina Trapani [+195]
Aug 5 09 at 11:42 pm

Ah okay great, happy it’s working! Otherwise, what you say here makes sense. At the CrunchUp we showed a prototype of Reader as a full Hubbub subscriber. This feature does not yet exist in the Reader that everyone out there uses. So that’s the source of the confusion. Obviously, we’d like Reader to fully support subscription for all feeds on all hubs out there. We’ll get there! :)

(also, sorry for my awful open ID url… another thing that needs to be fixed)

For people using WordPress without Feedburner, there’s a plugin that will enable this on your blog:

Jonathan [+3]
Aug 9 09 at 4:35 pm

Comments are closed. Thanks for reading!