RSS, Atom and other XML-formatted feeds revolutionised the way we keep up with our favourite websites, allowing us to use newsreaders to track updates rather than bookmarks and constant refreshing. The only problem: Some sites don't have RSS feeds.
The Google Reader team addressed this problem today, adding a new feature to allow users to track changes to any website — even those that don't have their own feed.
These custom feeds are most useful if you want to be alerted whenever a specific page has been updated. 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.
Granted, we've seen web apps that create feeds for feedless sites in the past, but the integration into a popular newsreader like Google Reader is a big step. And while most sites worth their salt have feeds coming out their ears, others — like Bill Gates' recently launched Gates Notes — still don't, making the new feature a welcome update for anyone who's dealt with this frustration in the past.
Follow changes to any website [Google Reader Blog]