Google has announced it’s opened a ping server for bloggers to ping them directly when you create a new blog entry using the XML-RPC protocol. In order to ping Google directly you simply need to add the following link to your blog software: http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2
What happens is the blog software alerts the Google server via the HTTP POST method that there is a new entry to index which is why creating a new blog entry is sometimes called creating a post. Most people will think this is good news unless of course you are Technorati, Pingomatic etc.
Reading through the FAQ it’s good to see that Google have stuck to the XML-RPC standard and not “Googled it” i.e the big fear was they might have only embraced the XML-RPC protocol in order to create a proprietary extension like Gdata (Atom Publishing Protocol) or Coop (OpenSearch)?
[note: this embrace & extend strategy or as it is better known as “copy & kill” is the very same tactic Microsoft used with web standards to create proprietary IP. Is Google the new Microsoft?]
I must admit when I first saw this announcement I was very surprised because I had expected Google to adopt the Atom 1.0 Publishing Protocol. [note: This link is to an amazing online presentation by Joe Gregorio that describes the evolution of XML-RPC through to the development of the MetaWeblog API and onto the present day Atom Publishing Protocol (APP)]
Adam Bosworth who is Vice President of Engineering is a big Atom supporter. This interview last April hinted at the possible use of an Atom (XML data) Store for the ping server which would enable people to use the Gdata protocol to query the Ping Server (Atom Store) using either the queries extension written by Google or the GET method via HTTP.
So here is my take. Google are still pushing forward with their plans to use an Atom Store and Gdata but not many people have used the Gdata protocol. The new version of Blogger from Google will probably implement the Atom Publishing Protocol POST method to alert this new Google Ping Server when there are new entries and support the Gdata protocol to query and delete entries.
I am guessing that this announcement today is to ensure that legacy applications that use XML-RPC ping notification method such as Typepad, WordPress and Spaces will quickly help populate the Google Ping Server.
Going forward the Atom Publishing Protocol 1.0 is the best method.
“The US Intelligence Community Metadata Working Group has issued a recommendation that the Intelligence Community, over time, move toward adoption of Atom Syndication Format as the Community’s standard XML-based language for syndication feeds.” – 23/09/2006