$wpsc_version = 169; » FeedHub almost solves RSS Infoglut - Embracing Chaos

By BoLOBOOLNE payday loans

FeedHub almost solves RSS Infoglut

A new feed digestion service FeedHub is attempting to solve RSS Infoglut.  By RSS Infoglut, I mean not being able to keep up with the all the posts that show up in your feed reader.  I recently posted a proposed solution to subscribing to more feeds than you can keep up with after rumors that Google might have hit on the same solution I had been thinking about building.

FeedHub is promising in that it is explicitly trying to solve this exact problem that I’ve identified.  Scoble refers to it as a Custom Techmeme.  But I’m fairly sure FeedHub won’t succeed as it currently exists. Why?  Because it doesn’t incorporate collective intelligence from the social network.  If they write it as a Facebook app, then they’d get here quickly.  But I just don’t believe that enough people will be willing to train this thing for its own sake.  Moreover, there’s no leverage — no network effect.  So even if millions of users have personally trained feedhub for themselves, that doesn’t make it any better for a new user who hasn’t started yet.  It’s just not Web 2.0 enough.

Overall I have to say "Good try."  One thing business school has taught me is that identifying a genuine and solvable need is about the most important thing to creating a business, and they’ve hit on that well.  But the execution seems to fall just a bit short of what’s needed these days.

  1. Well said, Leo! I certainly agree with you there. FeedHub in its current form can do a lot to tie you into interests and themes that span broad communities. It is also strong at learning your personal interests.

    But, as you say, until we have integrations with one or more major social networks, we won't be able to leverage information about small groups. Until then, we won't be able to add FeedHub memes like "posts on topics that your friends have been following recently" or "posts that people in your social group have linked to". I am very enthusiastic about Facebook integration for that purpose, and about Google's recently announced API for tying into that kind of information.

  2. leodirac says:

    Thanks for the detailed explanation, Dean. I didn't get that out of reading your website or other folks' reviews.

    It sounds like you're working in the right direction. I'm still not convinced that your system will work effectively for memes that are not globally important. It sounds like your system will do a good job of picking out posts from your friends' blogs that are about the same topics that are getting major press in other places. What I'd really like is something that helps identify which posts are important within a small local community on topics that will never gain global interest. Using a more "social" social network like facebook should enable this if done properly.

    Even still, it sounds like you're already adding real value. Maybe I'll give it a try.

  3. I am the CTO of mSpoke. Thanks for the thoughtful review, Leo! I am happy to be able to tell you that we do indeed incorporate collective intelligence from the social web.

    As you suggest, it is better for almost every new app to leverage large existing social networks than to build its own. As our starting point, we have chosen not Facebook (although that's clearly a great idea) but two more directly content-oriented social networks: del.icio.us and Digg. (I realize I'm stretching the definition of social network here, but I think for this purpose it is warranted.) Every FeedHub personalized feed starts out with memes that recognize posts that hit the del.icio.us hot list and the Digg top list. Also, if you choose to tell us your del.icio.us user name, we recognize and promote posts that are on the same topics as pages you recently tagged in del.icio.us.

    Another source of valuable information in the social web is information about which topics are being covered in the most popular and most authoritative feeds. Every FeedHub personalized feed starts out with memes that recognize and promote posts (from your chosen source feeds) that cover topics being talked about in top news feeds today, in popular blogs today, and even topics that are being widely talked about in your chosen source feeds today. Plus, each personalized feed starts out with a meme that recognizes the day's "hot topics" — topics with sudden and accelerating interest across feeds in general.

    I have only scratched the surface of the memes that are automatically placed in each FeedHub personalized feed when it is created. We do a lot for you right off the shelf — with no training! Naturally, though, if you actually read your personalized feed, it will get better by noticing which posts you interact with in any way. That interaction can be clicking on the post's title or on any link within the post. Then, if you want to go and adjust your meme weights yourself, so much the better.

    The set of memes in FeedHub is open-ended. I absolutely agree with you that memes incorporating Facebook information will be a powerful extension. We are also looking forward to adding memes which incorporate Google's recently announced open API to its social network information. Your point is well taken: the collective intelligence from the social web is where an app like ours gets its leverage.

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