One of the questions we get from publishers most often is "How do I make sure updates to my feed are delivered to feed readers as fast as possible?" We know this is important to our publishers' businesses and we are constantly making improvements to our back-end systems to minimize the time from when you publish a post to when it appears to subscribers in feed readers.

Recently there have been a lot of developments around the so-called "real-time" web. The promise of the real-time web is distributing new information as quickly as possible. This encourages users to engage in more active participation online and makes the web more dynamic than ever before. However, so far the real-time web has not been easily accessible by feed publishers using their existing infrastructure.

Today we're happy to announce initial support in FeedBurner for the PubSubHubbub protocol. 'Hubbub is an open specification in draft for web-scale publish and subscribe. The protocol can be used to transform any existing Atom and RSS feed on the web into a real-time stream. Best of all, it's open, free, and decentralized like the rest of what makes the web so great: No single organization controls the protocol or how it's used.

As of right now, burned feeds with the PingShot service enabled are automatically enhanced with the PubSubHubbub protocol. We'll add the required discovery elements to these feeds and notify a Google-run Hub, running on App Engine, of publish events. We also convert any pings we receive into 'Hubbub events. That means for many of our publishers out there, your existing feeds are available as real-time streams right now. Like, immediately. This very moment.

If you are a publisher and are not already using our PingShot service, turning it on is easy. From feedburner.google.com, visit the Publicize tab for your feed, select PingShot, and click the [Activate] button at the bottom of the page. From your AdSense account, go to Manage Ads, then click View Feed Stats link, and do the same thing. That's it.

If you manage a service that would like to receive updates to the millions of FeedBurner feeds that use this service as soon as possible, or just want to know more about the PubSubHubub protocol, we encourage you to check out our project on Google Code. There are open-source clients for Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby, and WordPress. We have an open-source reference implementation of a Hub built on Google App Engine. And there are other Hub implementations built and run by other companies. Please let us know what you think in the PubSubHubub Google Group!

Posted by Steve Olechowski, on behalf of the FeedBurner Team