Microsoft is attempting to bring back the RSS feed with a new feature for its web browser Edge, called Followable Web.
Currently available to members of the Edge Canary early access channel, the feature allows users to “follow” websites in order to receive a curated list of the latest updates.
The sites the user follows are shown in a panel on the side of the browser, but to see all of the followed sites, users will have to navigate to the Collections menu.
The rollout is gradual, even for Microsoft Edge Canary users, so don’t fret if you’re not seeing the feature in your app. Those interested in giving the test version of Edge a go can download it here.
RSS making a comeback?
Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, was once one of the most popular ways of keeping track of websites. Through the use of RSS readers, people were able to curate the newest content from their favorite places on the web with ease. But the reign of RSS was short-lived.
By creating a new avenue for sharing and discovering web content, the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter effectively put an end to the heyday of RSS. The algorithm-based methodology of Google News and Microsoft News also provided an alternative model for providing users with fresh content.
However, as the problems with the algorithm-based approach to content discovery come to light (misinformation, echo chambers etc.), there are plenty of people looking for a way to exercise greater control over the information they are served.
Now, it would seem, RSS is ready to come back into the limelight, with the new Followable Web feature for Edge. And Microsoft is not the only software giant working on an RSS feed feature for its browser, either; Google is also developing similar functionality for Chrome.
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