Verrrrry interesting. Last week, amid the Google Reader fallout, we noticed that Google had removed its RSS Subscription Chrome browser extension from the Chrome Web Store. While the move was not as high-profile as the Google Reader shutdown, it spoke more broadly of Google’s intentions towards the RSS format itself – that is, maybe the search giant was ready to distance itself from the technology altogether? But now, that extension is back.
For background, the extension in question had previously placed a small, orange RSS icon next the website’s URL in Chrome’s address bar, allowing users an easy way to subscribe to a site’s feed. But that extension disappeared last week, after being removed from the Web Store.
Thorarinsson made his comments on a thread on the Chromium project’s issue tracker, in response to a user’s comment about the extension being shut down, given how closely tied it was to Google Reader.
The extension’s creator notes that his add-on wasn’t necessarily tied to Google Reader per se, because it did allow users to pick which feed reading service they wanted to utilize. However, he adds, “I’ve now removed the Google Reader option for new users to prevent them from getting hooked on Reader and then be disappointed in a few months time.” However, for current Google Reader users, the option remains.
Thorarinsson also urges people to use the official extension instead of the clones available now in the Chrome Web Store as some of those were copied long ago and may be out of date, while others might be vulnerable to security issues.
We reached out to Thorarinsson for additional information about the removal – specifically how was it that the extension came to be removed “by mistake,” but he declined to provide further comment.
Perhaps the mistake was that Google thought no one would notice?
For what it’s worth, Thorarinsson concluded his post by saying that he sympathized with those upset over the Google Reader shutdown. “I’m an avid user of Google Reader and am pretty unhappy about the Reader situation as well,” he said.