Google Reader is no longer available, but its spirit lives on in a “follow button” for Chrome that Google first experimented with in May. According to Adrienne Porter Felt, Chrome’s director of engineering, the RSS tracking capability was previously limited to the experimental Canary versions of Chrome on Android, but the firm has now begun allowing it on stable versions of the browser.
You may subscribe to a site’s RSS feed and have it updated in your Chrome app by following it through the browser’s three-dot menu. Sites you follow will display on a “following” tab, which sits alongside Google’s “for you” page of recommended articles. The functionality isn’t currently available on iOS, so I can’t test it on my phone, but Felt offered some screenshots of what it looks like on Android so you can get a sense of what it’s like.
It’s not clear how many people already have access to the new feature by default, but you can It’s unclear how many people have access to the new feature by default, but Felt explains that you can enable it yourself by typing chrome:/flags into your address bar and turning it on under web feed.
The Chrome follows button is currently only available on mobile devices (iOS and PC versions are on the way), which will undoubtedly frustrate some Google Reader power users. Still, it’s wonderful to see Google keeping the RSS flame alive in some way. It makes the Chrome app even more feature-rich, but if you’re looking for a free, no-fuss way to keep up with some of your favorite sites, it appears like Google is once again eager to offer that choice.
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