Google undeletes RSS extension for Chrome browser

It's not dead after all. Google has resurrected an extension that lets Chrome handle RSS and Atom feeds, even though it's not resurrecting the related Google Reader service.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland
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Google's RSS extension is back in the Chrome Web Store, minus its ability to hand off feed-reading duties to Google Reader.
Google's RSS extension is back in the Chrome Web Store, minus its ability to hand off feed-reading duties to Google Reader. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

The 868,163 people who've installed Google's RSS-handling extension for Chrome can breathe a sigh of relief, because Google has resurrected it after its deletion last week.

"My RSS extension was removed by mistake, but it is now up again," said Finnur Thorarinsson, the extension's author, in a comment to a Chrome RSS-handling feature request. The extension detects RSS and Atom feeds on Web pages and lets people subscribe to them with feed-reading software; it's been updated so it no longer offers Google Reader as an option for subscribing.

Google's RSS extension for Chrome disappeared last week at the same time that the company announced that it will scrapping Google Reader on July 1.

RSS and Atom provide a mechanism to subscribe to Web page updates such as new blog posts, but they aren't a mainstream phenomenon. Plenty of tech aficionados lambasted Google for killing Reader, though, some because they find it a useful service and some because they're worried about relying on Google services that may vanish without much warning.

Add the Chrome RSS extension author to the list of those who's disgruntled. "I'm an avid user of Google Reader and am pretty unhappy about the Reader situation as well," Thorarinsson said.

He also added that people should be judicious when thinking about using clones of his extension.

"Some of them were copied a long time ago and have not been updated since," Thorarinsson said. "They might therefore be vulnerable to security issues and can not really be recommended without making sure they've kept up with the times."