Google Reader is still defunct, but its spirit lives on in a “follow button” for Chrome that Google first started experimenting with in May. The RSS tracking feature was limited to the experimental Canary versions of Chrome on Android, but today the company has started enabling it on stable versions of the browser, according to Adrienne Porter Felt, a director of engineering on Chrome.
You can follow a site through the browser’s three-dot menu to subscribe to its RSS feed and have it update in your Chrome app. Sites you’re following will appear in a tab called “following,” which sits along Google’s “for you” tab of recommended articles. The feature isn’t out yet on iOS, so I’m not able to 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’s not clear how many people already have access to the new feature by default, but you can enable it yourself by entering chrome://flags in your address bar and turning it on under web feed, Felt writes.
The Chrome follow button is currently a mobile-only feature (iOS and desktop versions are coming), which will surely disappoint some Google Reader power users. Still, it’s at least nice to see Google keeping the RSS fire alive in some fashion. It makes the Chrome app even more crowded in terms of features, but if you were looking for a free, low-fuss way to keep up with some of your favorite sites, it seems like Google is once again willing to be that option.