Does Google Care about RSS?

I’ve been using Google Chrome off and on since its inception. It doesn’t quite offer me the experience that I prefer, so I keep going back to Safari on my Mac. There are many reasons for this, but there’s one thing that’s been bothering me for a while. If you know what RSS is, then you’re probably annoyed that Chrome doesn’t come with built in RSS support out of the box.

For example, try visiting my site in Chrome vs Safari, Firefox or even Opera. Notice how that RSS button is missing in the address bar? Google offers their own RSS extension to remedy this issue, but it begs the question why you need to even do this in the first place. RSS is a standard and has been adopted and supported by all major browsers (even Internet Explorer) — except of course for Chrome.

I posit that RSS is still something that is not known by everyone, but it’s been gaining awareness. More and more people every day are learning about it and are using it — no doubt in part to the ubiquitous Google’s own Google Reader service. If you need a universally accepted syncing service for RSS, there isn’t really any other option other than Google Reader. Via the Google Reader API, many people have built beautiful third party RSS apps like Black Pixel’s NetNewsWire and Silvio Rizzi’s Reeder for OS X and iOS.

I’m baffled as to why the Chrome team has chosen not to simply bring their browser in line with the rest of the world. Users shouldn’t need to install a browser extension to get RSS support — many won’t even know that they need to install it in the first place. A great example I can use is my father. He’s by no means technically proficient, but he does know what RSS is. He just got around to setting up his own weblog and wanted to test it with Chrome. His first experience when testing Chrome with his site was: “I can’t subscribe to my RSS feed.” I figured he would have called me for some support, but he ended up having to do some Google searching to figure out that he needed to install a browser extension just to see that damn orange RSS button.