A couple days ago, Matt McGee at Search Engine Land confirmed the reports the Wall Street Journal that Google will be offering web search result notifications not only via Google Alerts, but also via RSS format.
Yahoo and Live Search both have RSS results enabled in auto-discovery mode on the search results pages. Google does not and has not enabled this ever. Why now? Honestly, I am not sure why Google has waited this long? I know they don't want their search results to be used for many purposes outside of searching. Does this mean that rank checking tools can go the RSS route, as opposed to the scraping route? I doubt many will change and it is hard to know exactly how Google will release the RSS flavored results. Will it be only via Google Alerts or will Google enabled auto-discovery like Yahoo and Live does? Many of the other Google search properties, like Google News and Blog Search have auto-discovery enabled.
Time will tell - but I am happy about this. It makes Google's web results more accessible.
Forum discussion at Sphinn.