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March 16, 2013

Google's RSS Subscription Extension, Removed From Chrome Web Store

Update (March 19): The extension is back, but Google Reader and iGoogle have been removed from the list of default feed readers. Apparently, the extension was removed by mistake. {via François}

Three years ago I tried to convince the Chrome team that it makes sense to add native support to feeds. At that time, Google built an extension that showed feed previews and allowed you to subscribe to feeds. The explanation for building an extension instead of implementing the feature in Chrome was simple:

"This decision was made based on our philosophy of trying to limit ourselves to adding only the UI features that a vast majority of users need and allow each user to customize the browsers to fit their needs with Extensions. 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, at least to begin with."

In 5 months, more than 300,000 people installed the extension. More than 1,600 people starred a feature request for implementing RSS detection natively. Chrome still doesn't have this feature and the extension released in 2010 has been removed from the Chrome Web Store a few days ago. The issue is that the extension used Google Reader to preview feeds and Google Reader will be discontinued in July.


"RSS Subscription Extension" had 869,743 users. You can still find at least two extensions based on Google's code.

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