I love this.

Jaanus, a Skype employee, listened to the Attention podcast I recorded with Nick Bradbury of FeedDemon and Kevin Burton of Tailrank.

"At Skype, we’ve always been toying with the idea of attention management. You already see elements of that in the current interface, such as the "Recent Chats” concept or event management. But a lot remains to be done."

So it really struck me when I listened to this attention podcast. A lot of work is happening in the attention management space there, such as attention.xml and other initiatives. So if we had Skype chats available as RSS feeds and had people read them with an attention-supporting feed reader, we could perhaps track attention for chats, and do a whole lot of fun things based on that. But obviously, beyond any attention stuff, you should just get the chats into an RSS, and that’s what this post is about."

In his own time, Jaanus has developed an experimental Windows app (in Python) called Chat Channels that can publish Skype chats as RSS feeds and / or web pages.  There are two parts to the app: a 'collector' that talks to Skype over the Skype API and pulls the chat messages into a database.  The second part is a 'renderer' that reads the database and publishes the chats as RSS feeds or web pages. He has written up more design details and has the bits to download and install (note: Jaanus stresses that Chat Channels is not an official Skype product nor supported by Skype).

More on the 'why':

"There are other reasons why you would want to have your chat content in a database or available as an RSS read. You could publish the chat to wider audiences than just the immediate membership – such as stream the work-related chats straight to your intranet. You could do fulltext search across chats. RSS (or Atom, it doesn’t really matter) are becoming the "glue” technologies of the web, enabling easy cross-site and aggregation interactions and content publishing/retrieval. So why not jump on the bandwagon.

And of course:

"Plus, it sounded like fun. I haven’t hacked together something like this for quite a while."

I'd love to see a similar app for MSN Messenger using the the MSN Messenger Activity API.

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