Google News unhides the RSS option – it may not last

RSS option in the new and old Google News

Google News used to have an RSS option. There was a RSS link in the footer of the page. There was also a LINK RSS tag in the HTML source code for browsers to turn on their RSS buttons.

After Google and other big companies launched the unofficial war on RSS, the LINK tag disappeared and after a while the RSS button too. Initially, it disappeared on mobile-friendly version of Google News. RSS links that used to work in the mobile-friendly version of Google News also stopped working. I solved this problem by mimicking Subhash Browser as a desktop browser when the Google News page was loaded. (RSS feeds are important for me because Subhash Brower bundles an integrated RSS/ATOM/RDF feed reader, the only browser app with such a feature. I wanted users to search their favorite topics in Google News and use the served-up RSS link in the feed reader.) Then, Google removed the RSS footer link from the desktop version too. (The RSS service continued to work but ordinary users were not going to manually construct the links.) In a recent update, I overcame that by mimicking Subhash Browser as a very old desktop browser – Opera 12.x. That did the trick. Google serves source-controlled versions of its search and news pages for different versions of browsers. When I mimicked Opera 12.x, the RSS link magically appeared back in Subhash Browser. That was just over a month ago.

A few days back, Google served a news item in the RSS feed service indicating that the current RSS link is going to be obsoleted and that users should migrate to the new version.

Currently, the old Opera version serves news like this:
HTML: http://www.google.co.in/search?q=aadhaar&tbm=nws
RSS: http://news.google.co.in/news?q=aadhaar&output=rss

It remains to be seen whether the RSS feed will really be removed from old source-controlled versions too. The notice is clear:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

In new browsers, the links are:
HTML: https://news.google.com/news/search/section/q/aadhaar
RSS: https://news.google.com/news/rss/search/section/q/aadhaar

Actually, in the new version, the URLs are slightly more confusing but the above ones will work. I have simplified it. (The search term is aadhaar.)

If past actions is any guide, then Google will remove the RSS link from the News page footer in a sneaky manner. Bing had an RSS option but they also removed it without notice. When Twitter dropped their RSS support, I wrote TweetsToRSS server app for PC and Android. Even very early on, Google tried to promote ATOM feeds as a competitor to RSS. It failed. I thought this war would end at some time soon but no. Someone’s really angry with RSS.

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