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

Enlarge / Digging into bleeding-edge Chrome code has made some bloggers hopeful, however Google has been targeted by itself feeds for some time now.

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

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 in the case of Google product selections.

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

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

Kevin Tofel of About Chromebooks thinks so. Tofel writes that the underlying code of the characteristic “strongly suggests” an RSS-based feed reader, primarily based on the precise language of “internet feeds.” Then once more, that very same code part, powering the interplay between browser and sidebar, notes that it is going to 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 Could 2021. Following a web site allowed you to see its newest updates in a tab in your Chrome “new tab” web page, much like the “Uncover” residence web page characteristic on many Android telephones. The characteristic trickled into the Chromium Gerrit desktop builds earlier this year, and a “Observe” button is now obtainable 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 updated its guidance for web site house owners 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 lift the specter of Google Reader in headlines when discussing Google’s makes an attempt to show apps and units 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 could infuse them with promoting, which it could’t do with RSS.

Fortunately, there’s a longtime marketplace for old-school and reimagined RSS readers—and a few very good options. Talking of which, Ars Technica affords multiple segmented RSS feeds for readers. You may also add /feed/ to the top of any creator web page URL for author-specific feeds, like so.

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