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.

rss subscription extension chrome

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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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Comments (17)
  • Leonardos Leonardos

    Hello! Thanks for the useful post.Though,I have a question that honestly I can't find the answer so far. Is there a way to 'use' this kind of extention in google chrome on an ios device?As far as I know,chrome for ios,does not support extensions.Is there an alternative way to easily subscribe rss to feedly from a webpage that feedly search can't find?For example,on safari,you can do this using a bookmarklet.If chrome for ios can't support these actions which alternative browser do you suggest that can subscribe rss to feedly? (except safari) Thank you!

  • 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…

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Ray Markey

    I got here by way of RSS feed.

    • Chris Hoffman

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

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.