What is it (and why should you care)?
It allows those who don’t have an easy way of building an RSS feed that properly structures enclosure elements to do so (semi) automatically. And, it works with all a variety of versions of RSS and Atom (which fits nicely, as one of FeedBurner’s first offerings was RSS->Atom conversion).
Moreover, it also allows “GroupCasting”, the notion of a collaborative broadcasting environment.
Near term, this means is the beginning of Podcasting (from a publish vs. consumption perspective) for the rest of us.
Longer term, FeedBurner points out:
“While podcasting is certainly all the rage right now, note that SmartCast is not confined to podcasts. Our service provides the same capabilities for any rich media. Whatever may come of “podcasts”, we think the broad use of RSS enclosures is a trend, not a fad. SmartCast allows anybody with a feed to create enclosures that can be managed by specialized rich media feed clients. This initial emergence of specialized feed clients is just the tip of the iceberg. As more and varied endpoint uses for RSS/Atom feeds continue to pop-up, FeedBurner will continue to provide general purposes tools for publishers, allowing everybody to join in the fun.”