I wrote yesterday about the beta of “new version of Google Desktop Search”:http://www.geekfun.com/2005/08/23/new-google-desktop-search-beta/ which has a clever new approach to RSS subscriptions. Rather than expecting users to explicitly subscribe to the RSS feeds of sites that they visit, the WebClips section on the new GDS sidebar automatically shows feed items for pages you’ve recently or frequently visited that have discoverable feeds. Rather than expecting a user to know about RSS feeds, and rather than trying to explain to them why they’d care, Google is demonstrating their relevance.
I really like this approach, but it didn’t occur to me until just now that this could be the target for abuse by advertisers. They could hide feeds on web pages that would start showing up in your Web Clips. In fact, they might already be laying the groundwork.
I just checked my Web Clips options and I saw that it had detected feeds for “servedby.advertising.com/rss”. Right now, that URL doesn’t return any content, so I don’t know what’s going on. I’m not sure if it’s a bug in Web Clips, or what pages the feeds were detected on, but it’s all very suspicious at this point.