Chrome, at least in its experimental Canary(and only for users in the U.S.), is getting an exciting update in the coming weeks that brings back RSS, the once-popular format for getting Reader and similar services. In Chrome, users will soon see a “Follow” feature for sites that support RSS, and the browser’s New will get what is essentially a (very) essential RSS reader — I guess you could almost call it a “Google Reader.” Now, we’re not talking about a full-blown RSS reader here. The New Tab page will show you updates from the sites you follow in chronological order, but it doesn’t look like you can easily switch between feeds, for example. It’s a start, though.
“Today, people have many ways to keep up with their favorite websites, including subscribing to mailing lists, notifications, and RSS. It’s a lot for any one person to manage, so we’re exploring how to simplify the experience of getting the latest and greatest from your favorite sites directly in Chrome, building on the open RSS web standard,” Janice Wong, product manager, RSS feeds “more frequently to ensure Chrome will be able to deliver the latest and greatest content to users in the Following section on the New Tab page.”, writes in today’s update. “Our vision is to help people on the web.” A Google spokesperson told me that the way the company has implemented this is to have Google crawl
RSS was one of the fundamental technologies of the Web 2.0 era. Even today, it’s still the easiest way to get timely updates from your favorite sites (though some may not feeds anymore) without any recommendation algorithms getting in your way. Yet while RSS was always beneficial, the user experience wasn’t always ideal, though Reader (RIP) and Feedly did a lot to make it simple enough to subscribe to feeds and get updates. But when Google Reader at the altar of Google+ in 2013, that era ended even as diehard news junkies kept holding on to their Feedly accounts and old copies of NetNewsWire.
I think many people will be glad to see thatreturning it as a core feature of its browser. If you prefer an open web, RSS is the way to go for all its occasional clumsiness. For now, though, this is only an experiment. wants to gather feedback from “publishers, bloggers, creators, and citizens of the open web” to build “deeper engagement between users and web publishers in Chrome.” Hopefully, it won’t stay this way.