Google Reader used to be just an online RSS reader. You'd subscribe by copying and pasting a site's RSS feed URL into Google Reader's "Add a subscription" box. And you still can. But starting today, you can add any URL -- even if it's not an RSS feed, and even if the site itself doesn't publish an RSS feed.
If Google Reader doesn't recognize a URL as RSS, a dialog box will offer to "create a feed for you." Just click "Create a feed," and now Google Reader will monitor the page. If the page changes, a link to that page will show up in Google Reader as if a new RSS item had been posted. They'll even show you a preview "snippet" of the page, just as they do with real RSS posts.
I've been following several sites for several years using a site called WatchThatPage.com, which sends you an e-mail message when the page of your choice has been updated. But now I think I'll migrate those pages over to Google Reader, since I use Google's RSS reader every day anyway.
This is great news for people who use Google Reader, and a real incentive for those who don't to start.
NOTE: The Brains Without Borders blog has been discontinued, and replaced with "Inside Google" -- my new blog on ITWorld.com! The "archives" for Brains Without Borders will co-exist here on the "Inside Google" blog. Please drop me a line and let me know how you like "Inside Google," and what you'd like to see covered!