PubSubHubbub, another open protocol from Google

Have you ever wonder why Google has became an Internet Giant? Answer is simple because they love being open and in return they get Love from majority of the Internet users. PubSubHubbub is another protocol that came out of Google, it is an open protocol, an extension to RSS. PubSubHubbub allows RSS feeds to be real time. From PubSubHubbub‘s Google Code page:

A simple, open, server-to-server web-hook-based pubsub (publish/subscribe) protocol as an extension to Atom (and RSS).

Parties (servers) speaking the PubSubHubbub protocol can get near-instant notifications (via webhook callbacks) when a topic (feed URL) they’re interested in is updated.

PubSubHubbub works in combination with feed readers, your feed reader should be smart enough to understand and use this protocol. The publisher will publish a special <link…> tag which tells your feedreader about the hub that this feed uses. The feedreader will then fetch the feed onces from the original feed location and will subscribe to the hub. Now feedreader does not have to poll the feed again and again to look for updates. When there will be updates on the feed, the publisher will ping hub, the hub will fetch the updates and then the hub will multicast them to the subscribers.

Recently PubSubHubbub support was added to Google Reader Shared Items and now FriendFeed uses PubSubHubbub to get Google Reader Shared Items in realtime. See the demonstration from Google Reader Blog Post:

There is also an implementation to be used by community or you can create your own hub. The community implementation is hosted on Google App Engine and can be accessed at


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