How To Easily Add RSS Feeds In Chrome
Firefox (and Internet Explorer) handles RSS feeds well enough but Google Chrome lacks even the most basic RSS feed support.
Why No RSS Feeds In Chrome?
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 always seemed a strange decision to me – if the feature is not included by default in Chrome, less experienced users aren’t ever going to become familiar with it, or work out that it is even an option…
So people often had to use Google Reader instead to aggregate and view feeds, but even that was discontinued in 2013. Google really aren’t keen on RSS ;-)
Do RSS Feeds Have Any Future?
RSS feeds provide a single glance view of new web content on a website without having to navigate to it. This is similar to the concept of ‘Live Tiles’ – a key feature of Windows 8 and 10 (and Windows Phone) which displays live and updated information.
Microsoft obviously believe there is a sizable user base for this type of ‘on the go’ feature but, surprisingly, their Edge browser doesn’t include RSS support – but Internet Explorer still does.
Anyone switching from Firefox or IE to Chrome may miss the lack of Live Bookmarks that can deliver the latest news directly into your Bookmarks toolbar – fortunately there are extensions for Chrome that can provide the same functionality.
1. RSS Subscription Extension by Google (not recommended)
This is still the official extension to view RSS feeds in Chrome but it hasn’t received any love for years and was last updated in 2014. 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are only 2 feed readers predefined (Bloglines and My Yahoo) but Bloglines went down in 2015 which gives an idea of how outdated this extension is… However, you can add any web-based feed reader of your choice to the list.
This extension used to work ok years ago but most reviews by recent users have found it to be very buggy – it just doesn’t work that often…
But if you really want to give it a try, download from Chrome Web Store here.
2. Foxish Live RSS (recommended)
As the name suggests, Foxish mimics the native handling of RSS and Atom feed reading in Firefox using Live Bookmarks – it syncs RSS feeds within bookmark folders and refreshes them at a configurable interval.
Warning: if you use Chrome’s Bookmark Sync it may cause multiple items in the feeds because Chrome will sync your feed folders as well – you should not use this extension with Bookmark Sync too.
- Install Foxish Live RSS from Chrome Web Store here.
- If you plan to add multiple RSS feeds, create a new Bookmarks folder (right click Bookmarks Bar, choose ‘Add Folder’ then name it, e.g. RSS, and save it) to put the feeds into – otherwise the Bookmarks Bar will soon be filled up…
- When you visit a website with an RSS feed, the orange Foxish icon appears in the address bar next to the Bookmark ‘star’.
- Click the Foxish icon to reveal the available RSS feed(s) – many websites have 2 feeds as shown below (the main site ‘Feed’ and a ‘Comments Feed’ – you normally want the main site Feed)
- Click the feed you want to subscribe to – the Foxish ‘Subscribe to this feed’ tab opens.
- Select the Parent Folder you want to put the feed in – if you created a new RSS folder before, choose it now.
You can also change the Feed Name and Max number of Feed Items as shown below:
- Click the Subscribe button to finish and save your settings then close the ‘Subscribe’ tab. RSS feeds in Chrome are now available in the Bookmarks Bar – or RSS folder as shown below:
Foxish Live RSS Options
You can configure several options – right click the Foxish icon and choose ‘Options’ to open the Options tab.
You can choose the poll time (how frequently feeds are synced – default 10 minutes), rename or remove a feed, change the max number of feed items or change the parent folder.
The ‘Error logs’ link provides info on any issues with the feeds e.g. connection errors or if feeds are not being synced properly.
Note: Chrome’s bookmark API can only sync 200 feed items an hour so entries may get out of date if you add dozens of RSS feeds. This is a limitation of Chrome – to work around it, make the poll time longer and/or max number of feed items smaller e.g. if you have 10 feeds each with 10 entries, make the poll time 30 minutes so you don’t sync > 200 per hour.
The fact that Chrome doesn’t include native RSS feed capability is (for some) a crime for a modern browser, although sadly that is becoming the de facto position for all browsers…
However, if you are switching from Firefox (or IE) to Chrome you’ll love Foxish Live RSS – it adds great RSS feed support using Live Bookmarks and it’s easy to configure and use.