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, but Google has been centered by itself feeds for some time now.

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Does Google take pleasure in teasing and generally outright torturing some of its merchandise’ most devoted followers? It can appear that method.

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’s unlikely, but by no means say by no means relating to Google product selections.

Chrome added a sidebar for looking bookmarks and Reading List 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 #following-feed-sidepanel flag (now additionally out there in Chrome’s testing construct, Canary) provides one other choice to the sidebar: Feed.

Feeds? Like RSS feeds, the variety 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, based mostly on the particular language of “web 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 Discover Feed content… will use to communicate 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 normal in the Google ecosystem of “Follow.”

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The “Follow” button was launched in a Chrome for Android experiment in May 2021. Following a website allowed you to see its newest updates in a tab in your Chrome “new tab” web page, much like the “Discover” house web page function on many Android telephones. The function trickled into the Chromium Gerrit desktop builds earlier this yr, and a “Follow” button is now out there in Chrome Canary.

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

Last week, Chrome up to date its steering for website house owners seeking to have readers “Follow” their websites, asking them to make feed titles descriptive and to pick a single feed for readers as an alternative 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. But it is extremely unlikely that Google would make investments a lot into placing Discover-like feeds into its telephones, web-based laptops, browsers, search engine, Nest hubs, and extra, merely to give up and say, “Actually, we’ll just show you your headlines again.” Discover feeds are additionally an area that Google controls, so it might probably infuse them with promoting, which it might probably’t do with RSS.

Luckily, there’s a longtime marketplace for old-school and reimagined RSS readers—and a few superb choices. Speaking of which, Ars Technica presents a number of segmented RSS feeds for readers. You can even add /feed/ to the finish of any creator web page URL for author-specific feeds, like so.

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