An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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February 16, 2007

Google Shows the Number of Feed Subscribers

Google lets you subscribe to a feed in two ways: using the personalized homepage, by adding a new module that shows only the headlines (although you can read the whole feed by expanding each item) and using Google Reader, a full-fledged online feed reader (well, almost full because there's no search in Google Reader).

The problem was that Google was too afraid to report the number of subscribers to these services, so you couldn't know for sure how many readers of your feed use Google. The personalized homepage has always had a big number of users, but with the latest update of Google Reader, many people switched to Google Reader.

So now Google decided it's time to reveal the mysterious numbers.

Currently, these counts include users of both Google Reader and the Google Personalized Homepage, and over time will include subscriptions from other Google properties.

The "User-Agent:" header of our crawler includes the name of our crawler ("FeedFetcher-Google") along with its associated URL, the subscriber count, and a unique 64-bit feed identifier ("feed-id"). (...)

Below is an example of the contents of the "User-Agent:" header:
User-Agent: Feedfetcher-Google; (+http://www.google.com/feedfetcher.html; 4 subscribers; feed-id=1794595805790851116)

If you use FeedBurner for feed stats (this is a good option if you use hosted services like Blogger's Blog*Spot and you don't have access to server logs), there's a good news. Starting tomorrow, you'll be able to see the number of Google subscribers. "This information will show up in tonight's subscriber reports (meaning that most of you will start to see the data on Saturday morning, U.S. Central Time)."


This blog is not affiliated with Google.