Google Reader is still shut down, but its spirit lives on in a “follow button” for Chrome, which Google first began experimenting with in May. The RSS tracking feature was limited to the experimental Canarian versions of Chrome on Android, but today the company has started activating it on stable versions of the browser, according to Adrienne Porter Felt, a director of technology at Chrome.
You can follow a site via the browser’s three-point menu to subscribe to its RSS feed and get it updated in your Chrome app. Sites you follow appear on a tab called “following” that sits next to Google’s “for you” tab with recommended articles. The feature is not out yet on iOS, so I can not check it out on my phone, but Felt shared some screenshots of what it looks like on Android so you can get an idea.
It is not clear how many people already have access to the new feature by default, but you can activate it yourself by entering chrome: // flag in your address bar and turning it on under web feed, writes Felt.
Chrome’s follow button is currently a mobile feature only (iOS and desktop versions coming), which will definitely disappoint some Google Reader users. Still, at least it’s nice to see Google keep the RSS fire alive in some way. It makes the Chrome app even more crowded in terms of features, but if you were looking for a free way to keep up with some of your favorite sites, it seems that Google is again willing to be that option .