Google revives RSS extension for Chrome browser

The downloadable tool offers access to RSS readers through the browser, though not to the doomed Google Reader

Tech enthusiasts upset over Google's recent decision to scrap Google Reader and other products may have one reason to be happy again: They can still subscribe to RSS feeds through an extension within the Chrome browser.

Chrome's RSS (Really Simple Syndication) subscription extension was deleted in the wake of the company's multi-faceted product shutdown last week but is now back up and running, Finnur Thorarinsson, the extension's author, reported on an online forum on Tuesday.

The extension had been removed by mistake and is now available for download again on Chrome's Web store, he wrote.

The Chrome add-in is designed to auto-detect RSS feeds on websites. Upon discovery of a feed, an icon appears on the screen that lets users preview the feed content and then subscribe to it.

The tool is not specifically linked to Google Reader. it comes with the Bloglines and My Yahoo readers predefined, though users can also choose from any Web-based feed reader to view RSS feed content.

Although the extension is up and running, Google Reader has been removed from the list of available feed readers, "to prevent [new users] from getting hooked on Reader and then be disappointed in a few months time," Thorarinsson wrote. Google Reader is scheduled to be shut down in July.

Google axed eight products last week in its latest round of "spring cleaning," in an effort to focus its offerings and take advantage of new opportunities, the company said.

Loyal users voiced strong opposition to the company's decision to scrap Google Reader, with thousands petitioning Google to bring it back. Many fans in the meantime have taken to Twitter to suggest alternative RSS readers.

Thorarinsson includes himself in that group of disgruntled users. "I'm an avid user of Google Reader," he wrote, "and am pretty unhappy about the Reader situation as well."

Google Reader was launched in 2005 to help people follow and keep track of updates to their favorite websites.

Google could not immediately be reached to comment on this story.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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