Google has removed its own RSS Subscription Reader extension for Chrome browser from the official Chrome web store. Although the exact time is not known, the removal appears to have occurred only recently.
As Chrome users must have noticed, the extension made itself apparent through a small, orange icon beside the website URL and to the left of the bookmark icon in the browser address bar. Users could quickly subscribe to the RSS feed of any website they were in by clicking on this icon. The reader supported almost all blog-reading services, apart from Google’s own.
Picture – Google RSS Subscription Reader Extension Screenshot
With the extension no more now, Google has sent a strong message that was getting out of the RSS community – and possibly the business as a whole. The RSS format never really won mainstream popularity and was mainly favored by researchers, programmers, journalists and those with a technical mindset. However, the format actually built up user engagement and contributed to a more direct communication between bloggers and users.
Clicking on the extension, in browsers where is installed and activated, would no longer make it function. The Guardian criticized the action of Google by commenting that killing Reader was quite akin to killing the bees hinting at a direct impact on the World Wide Web ecosystem of social engagement.