Feeds No Longer Required to Follow Webpages via Google Reader
Article by George Norman
On 27 Jan 2010
Google Reader, the web-based Atom and RSS feeds aggregator, is a speedy and convenient manner of keeping track of your favorite webpages. When new content is added to your webpage of choice, Google Reader will fetch it and display in its interface. It saves you the time and trouble of personally checking the site for new content. Then there are the other advantages of using Google Reader. Like the fact that you can easily discover new content or the fact that you can share content with other Google Reader users. But I digress.

The problem with Google Reader was that it could only keep track of webpages that had a web feed (or news feed). The site owner had to create a feed; without a feed, you could not add the site to Google Reader. It’s something that I’ve had to contend with on numerous occasions. I would get excited about a site, wanted to add it to Google Reader, then discovered that without a feed I cannot add that site to the list of subscriptions in Google Reader. It was an annoying situation – but one that has now been remedied.

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Product Manager Liza Ma explains: “We're rolling out a change in Google Reader that lets you create a custom feed to track changes on pages that don't have their own feed. These custom feeds are most useful if you want to be alerted whenever a specific page has been updated. For example, if you wanted to follow Google.org's latest products, just type http://www.google.org/products.html into Reader's Add a subscription field. Click Create a feed, and Reader will periodically visit the page and publish any significant changes it finds as items in a custom feed created just for that page.”

It works because Google automatically creates feeds for the webpages you want to subscribe to. This way you can keep track of changes to your favorite webpage even if it does not have a feed. But there is a catch though. Some site owners can block Google from generating feeds. If the site owner does opt-out, you’ll just have to personally visit the site to discover new content. Kind of a bummer!

If you would like to get started with Google Reader, please click
here.



Tags: Google, Google Reader, Web Feed
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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