My MSN Adds Feed Discovery Support

As rumored to come, MSN has now added added feed discovery and subscription services for those using its My MSN service.

A new feed search tool is offered at the top of the My MSN home page or you can also find it here, if you are signed in. It allows you to search for feeds that contain the words you are looking for in automatically-created descriptions.

Note that this is not the same as searching through the full-text of feeds themselves. As a result, individual postings put out in feed format and blogs are not searchable, in the way a service like Feedster allows.

In addition, this is not a blog search engine. That's because any site may have feeds, so a feed search includes more than blogs. In addition, some blogs don't have feeds and so wouldn't be included in a feed search service.

MSN is working on actual blog search engine that is supposed to come in the future to its main MSN Search site that's open to the public without registration. To date, no major search engine yet offers blog search. My MSN's Third Portal To Gain Blogs; Where's The Blog Search? article looks at this more.

In the meantime, the feed discovery tool on My MSN is powered by Moreover. This isn't disclosed with a "powered by" disclaimer when you do a search, but after subscribing to a feed, Moreover clickthrough redirection is used. In addition, the company is named a partner in the following articles spotted via Greg Linden's blog:

Once a feed has been found, My MSN users can then subscribe to it and read posts via boxes added to their My MSN home page. MSN also provides the ability to quickly select from small list of major site -- what it calls Recommended Sources -- via an All Content.

Yahoo has offered feed discovery and subscription for several months, as the Yahoo, How About A Feed Search Tab? explores more. Google remains lacking in this area.

Via the MSN Search Blog, news also that MSN has launched a new MSN Syndicated Content page. That page lists all the feeds that come from MSN itself. The company also sticks with the RSS name for feeds despite some debate on what RSS stands, different flavors of RSS and a rival format for feeds called Atom (note that most feedreaders can handle any format).

Interestingly, MSN itself doesn't find the name that descriptive or user-friendly. Hey MSN, "syndicated content" isn't that descriptive to a person new to feeds, either. Nevertheless, it went forward with RSS as this SiliconBeat article describes for lack of anything better.

As a result, the acronym will likely continue as the def acto term for describing feeds. Meanwhile, Dave Winer takes a swing that My MSN will be making use of its own subscription buttons to promote signing up via My MSN, as described here. Others like Yahoo also have their own buttons.

For more on the issue of various feed promotion buttons and discovery difficulties, see my past post, More On Making Feed Discovery & Subscription Easier.