Google Reader is a leading RSS feed aggregator and reader, and the service is provided free to Google subscribers. RSS is an easy way to keep track of all the sites that you like to follow, and the Google Reader make this job still easier by aggregating all the feeds in one place, and providing various other capabilities like sorting the feeds into folders. It is really easy to subscribe to the feeds of any site that you want, just look for an icon like the the picture (to your right) in this article. Once you click on that picture, you will be taken to the feed page of the website, and you will get the option to aggregate the feed in the reader of your choice.
For subscribing to the feeds of blogs and websites, it is not necessary that you become a member or subscriber – the feeds are totally free. Yet there may be instances when the blog or website owner may want to keep the content for private consumption, or only for invited readers, or for those with a password related to a membership or subscription. In that case, the general surfer will not be able to aggregate the feed in the usual manner.
What are Password Protected Feeds?
As pointed out above, some webmasters may like to keep the content private or for limited consumption only. This may happen in the following cases -
- In case of private blogs – not searchable by search engines.
- In case of membership or subscription sites/blogs, where the content may be accessed only by those who pay the required fees.
- In case of websites/blogs where only readers personally allowed or invited by the webmaster are allowed.
The general surfers cannot obviously access the feeds in such cases. The access to password protected feeds is limited to those who have the password.
Why Would Someone Need To Subscribe to Password Protected Feeds in Google Reader?
For diehard fans of Google Reader (I am one!), the fact that Google does not support password protected feeds is a big letdown. Suppose I want to subscribe to the feed do my Twitter account, which requires authentication for access, it would be convenient for me to access it in Reader, without going to the Twitter site every time. Similarly, I may be the member of membership or private sites, and I may want to aggregate even these feeds into my reader. After all, this IS the primary function of aggregator – to aggregate all my feeds in one place, so that I have an easier life!
How to Access Authenticated Feeds in Google Reader?
Google Reader does NOT allow feeds that need to be authenticated in this manner, so you cannot access such feeds in Google Reader even if you have the password. To access authenticated feeds in Google Reader, you will need to go in a roundabout manner. First, get the feed in Feedburner or Yahoo! Pipes by using the following syntax -
Once you get the feed set up in this manner, you can easily add it to your Google Reader.
In addition, there are services like FreeMyFeed, which essentially free your feeds from authentication – by acting as a proxy or intermediary between your target feeds and Google Reader. You can use them too.
Important Note – Once you make your private feeds accessible in this manner, the search engines may index them, and the feeds may become public. So if you have private data on the sites, do NOT use this method.