Google Reader Notifies Changes in Sites Without Feeds

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The Google Reader application for managing syndication feeds now lets its users monitor changes in sites that lack feed functionality, Google said on Tuesday.

To create a custom feed for a Web page without syndication features, users should enter the page's URL in Google Reader's "Add a Subscription" field. After that, users will be notified of changes to that page, including a snippet of the modified portion.

If Web publishers don't want Google Reader to create a feed for their content, they can block Google Reader from doing so at the level of individual pages or of the entire site by following instructions in the Reader Help site.

Google warns that Reader may sometimes miss changes and thus fail to notify users. Moreover, only content in English and formatted in HTML will be monitored. Google Reader also isn't able to track changes to content within frames or to content locked behind a log-in prompt.

This expansion of the product's ability to check for Web page changes comes at a time when industry observers are questioning the future of applications that manage syndicated feeds, like Google Reader and Bloglines, as more and more Web publishers use Twitter to notify readers that new content has been added to their sites.

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