Google Reader returns from the dead in new experimental Chrome feature

Chrome Android Follow Web
Chrome Android Follow Web (Image credit: Chromium Blog)

What you need to know

  • The Chromium blog is showing off a coming experiment for Chrome Canary on Android.
  • Users will see an option in the Chrome menu to "Follow" websites.
  • Once followed, Chrome will serve up the latest content from subscribed websites, using RSS to pull in new content.
  • Google killed its RSS service Google Reader in 2013, and fans are still mourning its loss.

This week is Google I/O 2021, and that means all things Google get an update, or in this case, the first rumblings of reanimating an old, dead Google service. The Chromium Blog detailed a new experiment that will be taking place in the upcoming weeks for Chrome Canary for Android users which will add a Follow option to the Chrome menu on most websites. If you click Follow, then when new content is available from those sites, it'll appear as part of a feed in the New Tab on Chrome Canary. There's no mention if this will sync between phones or with the desktop Chrome Browser so that these updates will appear on your trusty Chromebook, but at least they'll be directly inside Chrome, so you don't have to have yet another app installed on your phone.

If any of this sounds familiar, that's because this is how RSS feeds have worked for decades, including the beloved and dead since 2013 Google Reader. Given that it can be hard enough to keep up with brands across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms, there really is something to be said with tried-and-true RSS feeds that just serve up new webpages without social spins or #HashtagOverload. While there's no telling when/if this experiment will graduate to the more stable channels of Chrome, it could help make it easier to keep up with sites that don't do social that well.

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.