Easily Subscribe To Feeds With The RSS Subscription Extension [Chrome]

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rss subscription extensionIf you regularly use Google Reader or any other feed reader, you’ve probably noticed a missing feature in Google Chrome. Most browsers – even Internet Explorer these days – offer a built-in way to detect and subscribe to RSS feeds, but Chrome doesn’t. The Google-created RSS Subscription Extension for Chrome adds this missing feature, along with previews of RSS feeds.

This extension is ideal for anyone using Google Reader or any other feed reader. While pundits have pronounced RSS dead over and over, they’re still offered by a huge amount of websites and are a great way to stay up-to-date on multiple websites from one place – without giving out your email address and getting spam.

Usage

After you install the RSS Subscription Extension from the Chrome Web Store, you’ll see a familiar orange RSS icon in Chrome’s address bar whenever you’re viewing a page with RSS feeds. Click the icon to see the feeds available on the current page and select a feed to preview it. You’ll be taken straight to the preview if the current page only offers a single feed.

rss subscription extension

The preview page displays the contents of the feed and allows you to easily subscribe. It even shows this preview when you navigate directly to a feed – no more confusing XML when you click a feed link. If you really want to see the raw XML code, you can always click the Feed link on the preview page. If you didn’t have this extension installed, you’d have to copy-paste the feed address into your feed reader after locating it on the page.

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rss subscription extension chrome

By default, the RSS Subscription Extension subscribes to feeds in Google Reader. If you use Google Reader, all you have to do is click the Subscribe Now button and the extension will send you off to Google Reader, where you’ll have to click the Subscribe button to finish.

rss subscription extension chrome

This additional click isn’t really necessary, given that Google Reader shows you a preview of the feed, anyway. You can enable the Always use this reader to subscribe to feeds check box and you’ll be sent directly to Google Reader when you click the RSS icon in your address bar.

chrome subscribe to feed

Other Feed Readers

If you use another feed reader, you can select it from the drop-down box. The extension also includes support for iGoogle, Bloglines, and My Yahoo.

rss subscription extension chrome

You can add any web-based feed reader to the extension by clicking the Manage option in the dropdown box. You’ll need the appropriate URL for the feed reader – check your feed reader’s website for its address. When you subscribe to a feed with a custom feed reader, Chrome will load the URL you specify here, replacing %s with the address of the current feed.

google rss subscription extension

In keeping with Chrome’s — and Google’s — devotion to web apps, the RSS Subscription Extension doesn’t allow you to subscribe to feeds in desktop feed readers running on your computer. If you want to use the extension to preview feed before subscribing to them in a desktop feed reader, you can click the Feed link on the preview page to view the feed’s source code. You can grab the feed’s address from Chrome’s address bar and copy-paste it to your desktop feed reader of choice – for example, the address here is view-source:feeds.feedburner.com/Makeuseof, so we’d add http://feeds.feedburner.com/Makeuseof to our desktop feed reader.

rss subscription extension

If you’re missing Firefox’s live bookmarks, try the Foxish extension. For more Chrome tips, check our our list of the 100+ best Chrome extensions and Browsing At Warp Speed, our full guide to Chrome.

Do you still use RSS feeds? Or do you stick with social networks like Twitter and the time-tested method of regularly visiting your favorite websites?

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16 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Sergio Casas

I use it on a daily basis,
To think that its dying its just wrong from my point of view.
I use it to keep in touch with about 90 webcomics and 60+ tech pages (and I do read most of them).
Other features and services might have taken a bite of the chunk (think facebook feeds and twitter), nonetheless these dont posses the ability to hold record of what have and haven’t seen.

Chris Hoffman

Very true — RSS is really convenient and fast. I can’t imagine keeping in touch with that many websites without it — that’d be a full-time job.

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RichF

Thanks for the heads up on this extension. RSS is still the best way to keep up with anything more than a handful of sites.

Chris Hoffman

You’re welcome! I think most people only keep up with a handful, which is why RSS isn’t more popular.

Reply

Manide

In order to keep in touch with my preferred sites and blogs I use primarily RSS feeds. The next are Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Chris Hoffman

Do you use Google Reader, or is there a better RSS client out there? Almost everyone seems to use Google Reader (if they use an RSS reader), from what I see.

Manide

Hi Chris,

First, I used Opera built-in rss reader; was good, but following a friend’s advice, I tried Brief (Firefox extension) and Google Reader. The last became my choice, indeed.

From time to time, Google does some changes to its products in order to “improve” them; that’s why I tried some web-based alternatives, but none of them captured my attention enough – let’s mention Netvibes and NewsBlur for instance…

Chris Hoffman

Google Reader really seemed to beat all the other RSS readers. There was much more competition years ago, a more thriving ecosystem with more desktop clients and web-based ones, too. Google Reader’s just good.

Reply

Ray Markey

I got here by way of RSS feed.

Chris Hoffman

Interesting to see the RSS users out in force! Thanks for commenting.

Reply

Jon Smith

I still think that RSS feeds are important but I mainly read them off my Iphone, mostly for news but I have some tech feeds

Chris Hoffman

That’s another good point! It’s often faster to skim and read feeds on a small screen than it is to load many cluttered web pages.

Reply

Santo

Dear Chris Hoffman ,

Thanks for the article.

A great alternative for Google reader is Feeddemon, a desktop RSS reader, which synchronizes with your Google (reader feeds) account.

The more extensions you use the more memory Google Chrome takes. So better try not to use too many extentions while there are other alternative for them.

Instead of using this extention, there’s a subscribe button in Google Reader which you can drag & drop in the Google toolbar, and every time you wish to subscribe to a feed, you can just click on it.

Also there’s a fine Google chrome extention called ”Super Full Feeds for Google Reader ” which allows you to read the full RSS feed.

This is just my suggestion & thanks for the article again.

Regards,
Santo

Chris Hoffman

Ah, FeedDemon is still around — I remember using it, it was pretty good. Thanks for the information!

Reply

jc

I used to use this to read a particular RSS feed. But this morning I went to the feed URL and Chrome is asking me which reader to use. I don’t see the icon anymore. I don’t have any way to select rss subscription extension. But when I go to the Chrome store it tells me I already have RSS Subscription installed. And when I go to my chrome tools > extensions I can see it there. But for some reason Chrome no longer allows me to view the feed that way anymore….

anybody have any suggestions what to do to fix this???

thx

Chris Hoffman

That’s weird — have you tried uninstalling the extension and reinstalling it? Or maybe it just doesn’t work properly with the specific feed anymore…

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