Can Firefox help revive RSS/Atom? (Feature Request)

RSS/Atom took a big hit when Google shut down Google Reader. There isn’t really a good way to subscribe to content any more, except with algorithmic, addictive feeds that are probably very bad for society.

I’m wondering if Firefox could help revive RSS/Atom by bringing feed discovery back to the browser. If a site has code like this in the <head>:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Some site's feed" href="" />

then the browser could light up a small button. When clicked, it would show the subscriptions that are available. There would also be a way to view and read subscriptions.

The more people who read articles in their browser like this, the more people who will “save to Pocket”, so it could benefit other Mozilla products too.

One important advantage of RSS/Atom feeds over algorithmic “news feeds” is that they allow consumers to control what they read, not the designers of the algorithms.

I know that RSS/Atom could be handled with extensions, but most people these days don’t know what feeds are, so they don’t know where to look.

If RSS/Atom were supported by a major browser, sites would again start displaying RSS/Atom banners on their sites, and we could see a revival of a great, open technology.

A longer discussion about RSS is here.

This is interesting, I wonder if there is a way to fetch rss feeds from sites you have bookmarked in order to enrich Pocket recommendations in new tabs, too crazy idea? :stuck_out_tongue:


After posting my comment, I found out that Firefox still supports RSS, but that you have to manually enable it. I probably never would have found it without someone telling me about it.

If it’s going to take off, I think the browser has to suggest it out of the box: “Would you like to subscribe to news and blogs in Firefox?”

Firefox could become the new replacement for Google Reader, especially if the feed subscriptions are synced across devices. If the implementation were as good as Google Reader, then many tech savvy people would likely switch to Firefox to manage their feeds, and Mozilla would gain a larger developer community around their browser/products.

There could be many benefits for Mozilla if it’s implemented well.

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Can you please run that by the Fx/Pocket folks? I really like this idea. Though it needs to be ensured that there’s not another “please don’t share my data unless I tell you so” incident!

Wouldn’t it be possible to prototype this with a Web Extension?