Before algorithms turned the web into an annoying, non-chronological mess of predictive and addictive content, people used simple RSS feeds to keep track of their favorite websites. Google shut down its wonderful Reader RSS platform nearly a decade ago, but the company is now experimenting with a new RSS system baked directly into Chrome.
The experimental feature is only available to some Chrome Canary users on Android in the United States … but it looks really cool in pictures! If a website supports RSS, you can follow it from the Chrome browser menu. Then, new content from the site will automatically appear in a “Follow”
We’ve heard it loud and clear: discovery and distribution is lacking on the open web, and RSS has not been ‘mainstream consumer’ friendly.
Today we are announcing an experimental new way, powered by RSS, to follow creators with one click: https://t.co/9GQXWOqOXb pic.twitter.com/wKwBEhqu0S
– Paul Bakaus (@pbakaus) May 19, 2021
Should Google decide to stick with this feature, that will be a major turning point for RSS. For the first time in their lives, people who have never used RSS will be able to compile a personal feed of new content, and longtime RSS fans will finally have a clean and modern feed system baked into their browser.
Of course, Google’s experimental feeding system is unlikely to replace Feedly and other platforms, which are highly customizable and have a huge learning curve. Instead, it fills the gap left by dozens of now-deceased services, which helped average internet users manage a feed of sites they cared about. Unless Google abandons the idea, which is entirely possible.