Chrome “Feed” is tantalizing, but it surely’s not the return of Google Reader


Digging into bleeding-edge Chrome code has made some bloggers hopeful, but Google has been focused on its own feeds for a while now.
Enlarge / Digging into bleeding-edge Chrome code has made some bloggers hopeful, however Google has been centered by itself feeds for some time now.

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Does Google take pleasure in teasing and typically outright torturing a few of its merchandise’ most devoted followers? It could possibly appear that means.

Tucked away inside a latest bleeding-edge Chrome construct is a “Following feed” that has some bloggers dreaming of the return of Google Reader. It is unlikely, however by no means say by no means with regards to Google product choices.

Chrome added a sidebar for looking bookmarks and Studying Checklist articles again in March. Over the weekend, the Chrome Story weblog seen a brand new flag in Gerrit, the unstable testing construct of Chrome’s open supply counterpart Chromium. Enabling that flag (now additionally accessible in Chrome’s testing construct, Canary) provides one other choice to the sidebar: Feed.

Feeds? Like RSS feeds, the sort we as soon as had in expensive, departed Google Reader, slain for the sins of Google+?

Kevin Tofel of About Chromebooks thinks so. Tofel writes that the underlying code of the function “strongly suggests” an RSS-based feed reader, primarily based on the precise language of “net feeds.” Then once more, that very same code part, powering the interplay between browser and sidebar, notes that it will likely be “the interface that Uncover Feed content material… will use to speak with the browser.”

There’s some ambiguity there—but additionally proof that Google is sticking with its long-gestating efforts to harness the open RSS commonplace within the Google ecosystem of “Observe.”

The “Observe” button was launched in a Chrome for Android experiment in Might 2021. Following a web site allowed you to see its newest updates in a tab in your Chrome “new tab” web page, just like the “Uncover” residence web page function on many Android telephones. The function trickled into the Chromium Gerrit desktop builds earlier this yr, and a “Observe” button is now accessible in Chrome Canary.

Google's "Follow" button, now appearing in Chrome Canary builds.
Enlarge / Google’s “Observe” button, now showing in Chrome Canary builds.

Final week, Chrome up to date its steering for web site homeowners seeking to have readers “Observe” their websites, asking them to make feed titles descriptive and to pick out a single feed for readers as a substitute of providing a number of sections.

Chrome-watching blogs like to boost the specter of Google Reader in headlines when discussing Google’s makes an attempt to show apps and gadgets into content material hubs. However it’s extremely unlikely that Google would make investments a lot into placing Uncover-like feeds into its telephones, web-based laptops, browsers, search engine, Nest hubs, and extra, merely to give up and say, “Really, we’ll simply present you your headlines once more.” Uncover feeds are additionally an area that Google controls, so it may possibly infuse them with promoting, which it may possibly’t do with RSS.

Fortunately, there’s a longtime marketplace for old-school and reimagined RSS readers—and a few excellent choices. Talking of which, Ars Technica affords a number of segmented RSS feeds for readers. It’s also possible to add /feed/ to the tip of any writer web page URL for author-specific feeds, like so.