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Vive La Feed Readers

Updated: .

A little while ago, Chromium (the team and code behind Google Chrome) announced an upcoming experiment involving deeper integration into RSS feeds from sites. They plan to add a basic RSS reader that lets you see updates from the New Tab page.

RSS is sadly one of the few web technologies that got deprecated and never saw an uptick in conversions to new standards (such as Atom or JSON feeds). However, RSS is still very prevalent, despite that. Numerous news sites like France 24, BBC, and NPR all have RSS feeds for you to subscribe to get the latest headlines. Journalist networks and aggregators like Techmeme, The Verge, and Kotaku all have RSS feeds to help you see the latest in tech or the next big game at E3. Plenty of personal sites also have blogs that have feeds as well (like myself).

To see Google start to take RSS and other feed formats more seriously again is a huge win for everyone. It benefits those who only use social media or their New Tab page for news, as they can move that distraction to a later time, and read it how they want; with the absence of trackers and ads, it also means it's a more secure way to read headlines. For places that haven't gained these features yet, there's RSS-Bridge that lets you connect so many different aspects of the internet into custom-generated feeds.

It also means people can better take control of the information their seeing. I couldn't tell you how many times I've missed the latest wallpaper from Mirac or an update on the latest from Nintendo because Twitter wanted to serve me something some random person liked. With feed readers, you don't need to worry about algorithms because you get exactly what that publisher publishes.

For most people, this will be their first introduction to RSS feeds (which makes me feel a bit old). For those who want to dabble early on and start to see why I love feed readers, I'd recommend using Feedly to store your feeds and an app like NetNewsWire (iOS/iPadOS, macOS). Some feeds I like are:

Edit: A lot of proofreading and improvements to clarity.