Staying updated on the latest news, reviews, videos and more from your favorite websites isn’t always the easiest, and there are a litany of ways to accomplish the task. From Google News to social media and everything in between, there’s one thing that’s withstood the test of time – RSS. Google Reader got something right all those years ago, and that was the ability to let you connect directly with the things you care about without needing a layer in between.
Chrome’s dev team has been working on a “Follow feed” feature that let’s you do pretty much just that, just with a modernized spin. This handy tool was introduced back in Chrome 94 Stable for Android, and today, I’m going to show you how to queue up your very own customized Discover-style feed without any of the traditional Google Discover fluff.
With Follow Feed, you can subscribe to websites of your choice and receive updates the moment they release new content (like Chrome Unboxed, for example!) While we’re still eagerly awaiting the feature’s full launch on Chrome desktop Stable, it’s still a sweet tool to toy with on the go using your Android device.
To begin, visit the URL of the website you want to follow in the Chrome browser. Once there, just click the three dots located in the top right corner – that’s the “more” options menu. Then, select the “Follow” option, which can be found at the very bottom of the pop up dialogue box. You can see an example of this in the image above.
Tapping this will instantly add that website and all of the newest content to a “Following” section on the New Tab Page of Chrome, and you’ll be informed of this at the very bottom of your screen. You can even quickly tap the toast notification to go and read to your heart’s content. However, if you miss the message, you can just visit a new tab and it will be at the very top just under the search bar and recently visited websites list (see below).
Within the feed, you’ll find a list of the most recent headlines from websites you’ve added, but make no mistake – this is no direct one-to-one replacement for Google Reader and the good ol’ days as not every website seems to offer a follow option.
Oh, and you’re trapped in the aforementioned page instead of having a standalone application or website to view and customized your sources. The articles you do see are also limited to just a handful per source and if you follow more than a handful, the feed cuts off with no place to view more! At this time, this is the tool’s biggest weakness, but the team behind it is passionate, and is looking to improve it over time.
They’ve even planned iOS support for it in Chrome on iPhones, and additional features, so long as it doesn’t get axed first. As much as I wish we had Reader back and full control over RSS feeds, Chrome is making itself feel as close to home as it possibly can without resorting to raw input URLs. By giving us a way to rack up personalized content without the strangely random Google Discover algorithm interjecting, it gives me, and hopefully you as well, a little more sanity when we wake up to read what’s new in the morning.
I just want the steps!
1. Visit the website URL you want to follow in Chrome for Android
2. Click the three dots in the top right corner of the browser
3. Select “Follow” from the menu (at the very bottom of the dialogue box)
4. Access your Follow Feed by opening a new tab in Chrome and tapping ‘Following’ instead of ‘Discover’
5. Scroll through the Follow Feed to see the latest headlines from the websites you follow.
6. Tap on any article to open it and enjoy, of course!
Pro Tip: You can currently enable the “Following feed in the sidepanel” and “Enable upcoming follow features” developer flags in Chrome Dev and right-click on any web page to select “Follow site”. Again, the side panel does not currently display the feed properly, but in the future, a simple right click will give you the option!