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January 26, 2010

Track Page Changes Using Google Reader

Not all web pages offer feeds and sometimes it's useful to monitor web pages and find the latest information. A great service that offer this feature is Page2Rss, which provides a feed for each monitored web page.

A similar feature is now available in Google Reader and it's cleverly integrated: click on "Add subscription", type the address of a web page and Google Reader will automatically generate a feed if it can't detect one.

"We provide short snippets of page changes to help you quickly decide if the page is worth revisiting and we're working on improving the quality of these snippets," says Brian Shih.

"Reader may not always detect updates to your content. Currently, only English-language content in HTML format is supported. In addition, updates to content in frames are not detected; nor are updates to content that requires sign-in to view," mentions a help center article, which also informs that webmasters can prevent Google from monitoring web pages by using the features that block Googlebot from crawling or caching web pages. This suggests that Google Reader's page monitoring uses data from Google's search index and the changes may not be detected quickly if the web page is not popular or it doesn't change often.

Since I rarely visit Google's homepage, generating a feed for or for other international Google homepages is a great way to track all the doodles and the promotional messages.

For now, Page2RSS offers more features (posts have better titles, you can view a cached version of the page), but Google Reader is more reliable. For example, Page2RSS doesn't show the latest changes for

Tip: to find the URL of the feed generated by Google, click on "show details" and you'll find a URL like:


  1. i'll try it...thanks for great info

  2. Impressive. This is indeed extremely good for tracking offers and promotional packages, but not on :D

  3. Very good, lots of use for this!

  4. Will it actually tell me when Google places a doodle on their homepage?

  5. I’ve been using ChangeDetection to monitor webpage changes for years. I can’t really say how it compares to Page2RSS. There’s a feed for your whole account, but not for individual pages.

  6. Have you tried Femtoo (

    Femtoo has been providing a far more advanced version of Google Reader for some time time now. Features include:

    - Monitor particular parts of a page
    - Parse data and check for particular conditions (share price hit a certain amount etc)
    - Premium accounts can create 'low latency' trackers for critical monitoring applications
    - Receive notifications via email, Instant Messenger and soon SMS (I think)
    - Add a 'widget' to any page to allow people to 'subscribe' to a 'tracker'
    - It uses the amazing cQuery ( Server-side CSS Content Selection Engine
    - You can publish 'trackers' to the 'Tracker Library' and anybody can subscribe.

  7. OK, just tried this method by pasting a web page URL into the Add a Subscription field in Google Reader, and all I get is "Your search did not match any feeds. Suggestions: Make sure all words are spelled correctly. Try different keywords. Try more general keywords." Have they stopped supporting this?

  8. You should type a full URL, not a list of keywords.

  9. Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

  10. If you need to track multiple pages with advanced filtering and timely scheduling you can try out this tool:


    So this doesn't work anymore. Updating the post to reflect the change would have saved me some time...

  12. Was this feature removed?