Alright, I know that i’ve probably been corrupted by Chris Pirillo on the subject, but RSS is a pretty elegant solution to many of the most annoying problems with the Web, not the least of which is that I don’t want to visit any site day after day.
As I was thinking about Gmail today, wondering whether to log in and check to see if I had any email to my address there (which is firstname.lastname@example.org) I realized that RSS could be a very cool solution to that problem, one that plagues all the Web-based email systems.
Here’s how I’d do it…
While not discussed too much, RSS has the ability to embed account and password information into URLs (as does, of course, everything that uses URLs). Why not have an RSS feed that I could subscribe to that would be just the from and subject information? I wouldn’t want to use my regular account password (since I don’t want to have my main account password stored on my computer, if I can help it), so I’d suggest that a second password be utilized for this purpose, one that wouldn’t work to log in to the Gmail service, but would authorize an RSS tap of the specified account only.
Expand this across the various web-based mail services and all of a sudden I don’t have to rely on my IM client to notify me that I have mail in my hotmail or yahoo mail account. For me, running on Mac OS X, NetNewsWire would do the trick just fine, thank you, even if it only checked once or twice daily.
What do people think of that idea? Or, to put it another way, how many of you have Web-based email accounts that languish for weeks on end without you checking in to see if there’s anything new?