Google Removes RSS Extension for Its Chrome Browser

 
 
By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-03-18
 
 
 

Google Reader isn't the only RSS product to be getting the ax at Google. The RSS extension for Google's Chrome Web browser has also been cut, which means that Chrome users can no longer use it to quickly subscribe to RSS feeds as they browse the Web.

The demise of the RSS Chrome extension comes on the heels of a March 13 announcement by Google that it will end its Reader RSS service July 1.

The RSS extension has apparently been pulled from the Google Chrome Web store, where it had been available for download and use by Chrome users, according to a March 16 post on the unofficial Google Operating System blog.

"The issue is that the extension used Google Reader to preview feeds, and Google Reader will be discontinued in July," the post said. "'RSS Subscription Extension' had 869,743 users. You can still find at least two extensions based on Google's code" in the Chrome store.

The Chrome browser doesn't have the ability to view RSS feeds natively, so it required an extension to gain the capability.

For RSS fans, the coming demise of Google Reader and the ending of at least one Chrome extension mean that users will have to find alternatives to use RSS in the future.

Google cited declining use for its decision to end Reader, but fans of the news and information aggregation service were quick to criticize Google's decision, with at least one online petition—Google: Keep Google Reader Running—collecting more than 128,000 signatures by March 18 on Change.org. Several other petitions also were created and have been gaining signatures by the hour.

Google unveiled the move to end Reader in a March 13 post about an assortment of service cuts that the company is making in the next few months as part of a house cleaning project it began in 2011.

Interestingly, the news of the demise of Reader was buried in the sixth paragraph of the 10-paragraph blog post, among several lesser services that also will be ending soon, including Google Building Maker, Google Cloud Connect and Google Voice App for BlackBerry.

In a separate post on the Google Reader Blog, Alan Green, a Google software engineer, wrote March 13: "We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We're sad, too."

The move is being made for two key reasons, Green wrote, including that the use of Google Reader has declined over time and that "as a company we're pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience."

Users will be able to retain and transfer their Reader data, including subscriptions, to other services using Google Takeout.

Several other petitions asking Google to maintain Google Reader were also created on Change.org, including "Google Inc.: Please do not shut down Google Reader,"  "Google: Please Don't Kill Reader!" and "Google: Do not remove Google Reader on July 1, 2013."

The planned obsolescence of Google Reader even quickly spawned a comical protest Website, which includes an animated image of a woman with disdain on her face, along with a caption: "Dear Google, You should bring back Google Reader."

Other replacements are out there for getting the news and blog feeds that are provided by Google Reader, but they may not satisfy users who love the simple and easy-to-use format of Reader.

Options include Feedly, NewsBlur, Pulse and The Old Reader.

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