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Chrome begins RSS support, solidifies extensions

The second most requested feature in Google's browser, the ability to find and subscribe to Web page RSS feeds, is arriving. Extensions, the top item, is maturing.

Google has begun work on one much-requested feature of its Chrome browser, the ability to detect when a Web page offers a subscription service through RSS or Atom technology.

Google programmer Finnur Thorarinsson formally marked the RSS support issue as "started" on Wednesday, though the feature is disabled for now.

"The first part of this has been implemented and checked in," Thorarinsson said, referring to the part that discovers when RSS feeds are available on a Web site. The feature is disabled for now, though, because the second part, which will produce a page that lets people actually subscribe to the feed, isn't yet available, he said in his comment about Chrome's RSS support.

When Chrome debuted in September, many often basic features available in rival browsers were missing. Google has been working feverishly to add them, though. A total of 250 people flagged RSS support as being an issue of interest, second only to the Chrome extensions, which 725 people flagged.

Google is working on extensions, too, which will let people customize the browser with features such as ad blocking. Extensions are a popular selling point with Firefox, the second most popular browser after Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Earlier this week, Google programmer Aaron Boodman published a how-to guide for writing Chrome extensions. "Right now extensions can only really contain content scripts, so that is all this doc covers. But we'll be expanding it over time as more features develop," Boodman said in an e-mail announcement of the how-to document.

The document caught the attention of another Googler--Matt Cutts, who oversees Google's efforts to screen Web spam out of search results but who also blogs more broadly. "I'm sure the Chrome team is thinking about ways to add more functionality to extensions, but the current developer version of Chrome already lets you do a lot of neat things," Cutts said in a blog post about using the Chrome extensions framework.

Boodman, though, followed up with a note of caution in a blog post of his own that said Cutts jumped the gun. "There's not much to see yet," he said. "We're working on more toys, and you can bet we'll start blogging when there's something to play with. But not... quite... yet."