Read RSS feeds right on the Chrome toolbar with RSS Feed Reader


RSS Feed Reader is just what it sounds like, a free Chrome extension that will allow you to manage and read your RSS and Atom feed subscriptions.

It offers an at-a-glance overview of your RSS subscriptions and news articles right from the Google Chrome toolbar.

There are numerous of programs out there for reading and managing RSS feeds, so you’ve got your pick. Personally, I prefer and enjoy simplicity in most programs I run, so having my RSS feed program integrated as an extension for Chrome works well.

RSS Feed Reader (RSSFR) will let you either import a previously saved list of feeds, or you can just begin adding feeds separately.

One of the things I liked most about Firefox was the way it used bookmarks. Therefore, I was interested to try RSSFR, since the Live Bookmarks system was the inspiration for it. RSSFR has a rather elegant design. It doesn’t have a whole lot of flash and a lack of substance. Rather, it is almost no flash at all and more substance than you’ll know what to do with. It lets you do all the normal functions you would expect for a program of it’s type, like allowing you to subscribe to a new feed by pressing the orange feed button on any web page. It also offers live notifications when any feed you have subscribed to is updated.

RSS Feed Reader Screen 1

RSSFR also has some things about it that are innovative, so to speak. You’ll be able to get an ‘at-a-glance’ type overview of your various feeds by clicking the RSSFR extension icon on your browser bar. While RSSFR doesn’t have a lot of frills, it does offer a main menu that makes things pretty simple and intuitive, where you can add or subtract feeds, as well as change little things like the visual theme of the extension itself.

RSS Feed Reader Screen 3

In addition, RSSFR lets you customize the display of any particular feed by changing how you view them. You can limit the number of posts to display, for instance, which is nice when you keep up on rarely updated feeds. It also allows you to give a new name or title to any feed you subscribe to, so you can call them anything you like. For example, you could rename your local weather feed “Is it gonna rain today?” if you really wanted to. I wanted to, and I did. It allows me to export my RSS feeds list to another computer, and allows for importing the same. Personally, I found this particular feature to be pretty handy since I go through feed lists like a caffeine addict goes through coffee beans.

RSS Feed Reader Screen 4

Another thing I liked about it was that, having it as an extension of Chrome rather than a separate program, I didn’t have to load anything else when I wanted to read my feeds. When you want to read the feeds you have subscribed to, you can just click the RSSFR icon in the Chrome bar, and you’ll get a list of the feeds that are clickable. Clicking on an individual feed will give you the viewing page. I know, it seems amazingly simple, but what else would we need for an RSS reader extension?

Overall, I found RSSFR to be an excellent addition to the other extensions I use on Chrome. The author offers his email address on the installation page so if you have any comments or questions he will reply pretty quickly. Response time from developers can make or break the popularity of any particular bit of freeware, in my experience, so it’s nice to see dedication in that area on this program. I would easily recommend this extension to anyone who uses Chrome. Even people who don’t normally read any RSS feeds might wind up getting into them through RSSFR, it’s so simple and easy to use.

If I had a criticism, however, it would be this: if you have a long list of feeds within some other reader that you want transfer to RSSFR, you will have to do it manually, as as of this writing it will not import OPML files (which are the standard for most RSS readers and for Google Reader). Moreoever, it will not export in OPML format, although it does allow exporting/backing up your RSS feed list using it’s own format. Although the program states that “OPML files, Internet Explorer bookmarks, etc are not supported yet”, so perhaps this is something that will be provided in a future update.

Until next time, my friends.

Get the RSS Feed Reader Chrome extension here.