Google Reader is returning from the dead and haunting Google Chrome | #firefox | #chrome | #microsoftedge

Google Reader used to be the pinnacle of RSS news consumption before it was discontinued in 2013, and many people are still bitter about its demise. While Google probably won’t ever properly resurrect the service, it’s currently working on the next best thing: An option to follow websites in Chrome, tapping into RSS. You can try it right now in Chrome 92.

In June, How To Geek reported that you can get started by activating the so-called web feed flag in Chrome Beta under chrome://flags/#web-feed (copy and paste this into your address bar). After restarting your browser, you should notice a new “follow” option in the top right overflow menu (⋮) when you visit a news website like ours. Tap it, and you’ll notice a new “Following” section on your new tab page, next to the “For you” Discover feed. In there, you’ll find the latest posts from the websites you’ve decided to follow. It’s also possible to manage the sources by tapping the gear icon next to the header. Now, just a month later, the feature is available in the stable version of Chrome. It’s still hidden behind a flag, and the process to enable it is the same as before.

Even though web feed is still hidden behind a flag, it already feels pretty stable. Following websites works as expected, although it looks like the feed is taking quite some time to fetch new content, and there’s no means to refresh manually. It’s currently also not possible to jump into the feed right after following a site by tapping the “Go to feed” shortcut in the toast that pops up at the bottom as a confirmation, but other than that, everything works as expected. However, some people report that the feed remains unpopulated for them, so your mileage may vary.

Google has been working on this functionality for a while. We first found evidence back in February, and Google confirmed it wanted to introduce these follow options during Google I/O in May. It’s by no means a fully-featured replacement for what Google Reader was, but it’s a step in the right direction. The Discover feed in Chrome’s new tab page often feels overloaded with clickbait and irrelevant news, so it’s great to see Google working on adding some personalization.

The web feed flag is currently live in Chrome 92. You can download it on the Play Store or over at APK Mirror.

Alternate title: Remember Google Reader? This is him now.


Update 1: 2021/07/29 5:21am PDT by Zachary Kew-Denniss

Article updated

While this feature is still hidden behind a flag, it’s now available in the stable version of Chrome for Android. This article has been updated to reflect this, and the APK Mirror link has been changed to the latest version of the app.

End of Update



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