As many users will know, Chrome has no native support for RSS feeds. RSS feeds deliver regularly changing web content – many websites (including TechLogon) syndicate their content as an RSS Feed you can subscribe to.
Firefox and Internet Explorer handle RSS feeds really well but Google say “given that most people are not familiar with and don’t consume RSS feeds, we thought that RSS support would be a better fit as an extension”.
That seems a strange decision – if the feature is not included by default, less experienced users aren’t ever going to become familiar with it, or work out that it is even an option…
RSS feeds provide a single glance view of new web content on a website without having to navigate to/through it. This is similar to the concept of ‘Live Tiles’ – a key feature of Windows 8 (and Windows Phone) which displays live and updated information.
Microsoft obviously believe there is a sizable user need for this type of ‘on the go’ feature – it seems odd that Google don’t. Fortunately there are several Chrome extensions to add RSS feed support:
1. RSS Subscription Extension – This is the official Google extension. It auto-detects RSS feeds on the page you are reading and displays an RSS icon in the Omnibox, allowing you to click on it to preview the feed content and subscribe.
There are 4 feed readers predefined (Google Reader, iGoogle, Bloglines and My Yahoo) but you can add any web-based feed reader of your choice to the list.
Although it works ok for me, reviews by some recent users have found the extension to be buggy – particularly since Chrome 20 was released. Download from Chrome Web Store here.
2. Google Reader RSS Subscriber
This extension is for subscribing to feeds in Google Reader only – by pressing one button. If a site has an RSS feed the extension displays an RSS button in the omnibox – press it to subscribe in Google Reader
If you want to use Google Reader, this is a good alternative to the official extension.
Download from Chrome Web Store here.
3. Foxish Live RSS
Foxish is different to the other extensions. As the name suggests, it mimics the native handling of RSS feed reading in Firefox using Live Bookmarks.
It syncs RSS feeds within bookmark folders and refreshes them at a configurable interval. It can display the feed in the Bookmarks toolbar – similar to Firefox.
Do not use this extension if you use Chrome’s Bookmark Sync as it will cause multiple items in the feeds!
See my review of Foxish Live RSS for more details and illustrated examples of its use.