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Chrome’s new ‘follow’ button test has serious Google Reader vibes

The return of the RSS reader?

Chrome’s new ‘follow’ button test has serious Google Reader vibes
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Google killed its much-loved Reader product in 2013, but has hardly made any solid attempt to replace it. However, a new test in Chrome gives up a glimmer of hope.

In a blog post, Google said that it’s experimenting with a ‘follow’ button in the browser that will subscribe you to a site’s RSS feed, so you get its latest content delivered to you as it’s published.. All websites you follow will show up in a separate tab in the Google Search app, besides the For You section. The follow button will show up in the overflow menu situated on the top right-hand corner.

Google Chrome’s testing a follow button to subscribe to the site’s feed

Google says that this tech is based on open RSS standards, but if a site doesn’t have an RSS feed, it will rely on its own indexing solution. The company added that while keeping a site’s RSS feed up-to-date will automatically make it eligible for this experiment, it’ll also consult publishers on how to scale this feature.

Back in 2017, the Big G introduced a follow button in search, but it was directed towards topics you’re interested in, rather than feeds of specific sites.

The experiment is very limited right now. This feature will show up to folks in the US using Chrome for Android’s Canary version. So it’s not yet time to get our hopes high for a Google Reader comeback.

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