Recently my dear friend and fellow blogger, RockSta, peppered an article in front of me about Google’s new ability to track a webpage / website that does not have feeds. I was really excited at the prospect.


How many times haven’t we thought about this small but very essential part of a website? When RSS feeds first appeared, it brought in with it the ability to read our favorite sites at one shot, but not all webmasters were happy to publish their feeds. Some were reluctant (to use the new technology), some were afraid (of plagiarism) and some had no idea (like me!). RSS has revolutionized the way we read posts of our favorite author, blogger, website or the comments they attract.

Now for the reality check. I tried using this new feature on Google Reader. Set up a few feeds. Will check over a few weeks on how precisely it works. For starters who want to set up a feed from a feed-less website, read an example from the Google Reader Blog

For example, if you wanted to follow Google.org’s latest products, just type “http://www.google.org/products.html” into Reader’s “Add a subscription” field. Click “create a feed”, and Reader will periodically visit the page and publish any significant changes it finds as items in a custom feed created just for that page.

Some stuff to keep in mind while using this feature:
1. The updates on your reader account depend on the periodicity with which Google checks that site
2. A caution that Google wants us to note, “Reader may not always detect updates to your content”. Whoa…!
3. Updates to any content that is in frames will not be detected nor can one get updates from sites that require you to sign-in
4. And this functionality is up for grabs only on sites with English language content as of now

The whole procedure works on Google’s ability to cache a page and compare it with any changes a page might have undergone, every time it visits it. Pretty neat!

Smart webmasters who don’t want their website to be Googled or G Read by Google Bots can add the following meta tag to any page they want to block

<meta name=”googlebot” content=”noarchive”>

The above meta tag tells Google not to take a snapshot or cache that webpage.

This is not the first time Google is coming out with a user-demanded feature, but hats-off they did!

There are many third party services too that claim to create feeds for websites, but many aren’t promising. I like one software in particular that achieves an overall watch over a website or a domain. It’s called Website Watcher. Check out their website for more details. A review of it in another post, so stay tuned.

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