Earlier this year, we reported on a Google Reader-esque feature that Chrome on Android was in the middle of implementing. This feature allowed users to follow sites and view the feed on the New Tab Page in the “Following” section beside “Discover.” The sudden appearance of this feature gave many of us hope that Google may be planning to bring back Google Reader after its demise in 2013.
Since then, this experiment was announced by Google in the Chromium Blog as “an experiment in helping users and web publishers create deeper connections on Chrome.” However, it was later discovered to be spreading to the desktop version of Chrome, as evidenced by a patch in Chromium Gerrit found by Leopeva64 on Reddit, that at the time read:
Add menu item to follow a site for desktop feed
Also move some files out of android directory so that they can be used for desktop version.
Six months later, the “Follow site” feature has made its way to Desktop Chrome, and more importantly, already present in ChromeOS 106 (Dev), as reported by About Chromebooks yesterday. As noted there, the feed on desktops is supposed to populate on the side panel; however, it is still a work in progress and not fully functional yet.
Whether Google intends this to become a full RSS Reader replacement remains a question. In recent years, Feedly picked up where Google left off and made significant strides with its RSS reader application. I use it daily to keep up with everything in Tech, even more so than Twitter and other social media platforms. It will be interesting to see where Google takes this and if it will be good enough to replace the other RSS reader options out there.