Chrome Attempts to Resurrect RSS With Its New Follow Feature Rolling Out on Android

Chrome Attempts to Resurrect RSS With Its New Follow Feature Rolling Out on Android
Be a faithful reader and follow Gizmodo in Chrome for Android. (Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo)

It has not been an easy time for Android users who prefer to read and consume instead of doing anything else. But if you’re a Google Chrome user, there’s a feature you should know about that can help you track your favourite sites within the browser without bothering with a third-party service like Feedly.

Google now lets you “follow” sites within its mobile browser. The feature has a similar effect to following an account on Twitter or Instagram, except you get content updates through Chrome on the new tab page. The ability is widely available to anyone on Android running the latest version of Chrome 94 that was pushed out to the Play Store at the end of September.

Google introduced the ability earlier this year through the experimental Canary version of Chrome on Android. A Google spokesperson said at the time that the company planned to return to surfacing content through RSS feeds so that it could populate the aforementioned Following section for its users.

The ability shows up in the overflow menu on the stable version of Chrome for Android. But since it’s still rolling out, you might need to enable it manually. In Chrome for Android, type in chrome://flags in the link bar to reveal the browser’s hidden settings. Then, search for web feed and select the singular enabled option to turn it on. Chrome will advise you to restart. You can follow the screenshots below for a visual reference.

Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo, In-House Art

Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo, In-House Art

Here are the three screens you’ll see as you go through the steps to enable the

Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo, In-House Art

Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo, In-House Art

From left to right: How to access the

As you start adding sites to your repertoire, you’ll see them populate in the Following section each time you launch a new tab. However, the more sources you add, the more sections of content to track, with each domain separated into its little area.

This feature is not a replacement for the traditional RSS feed of yore. But it makes it easier to follow the sites you visit regularly without having to confront Google’s sometimes off-kilter Discover algorithm, which aggregates links to articles based on your Google activity.

Chrome’s director of engineering Adrienne Porter Felt tweeted on Friday that iOS users should expect the feature sometime next year.