Category Archives: Firefox

Is FeedHub the answer to information overload?

I’ve been playing with mSpoke’s FeedHub, releasing today at the Demo Conference. I’ll have a video up later today demonstrating the product.

Dan Farber has a review and info up on his ZDNet blog.

I’ve been interested i this topic for some time. Right now I’m reading 848 feeds for my link blog in Google Reader. I’m way overloaded with feeds. Now, imagine I only had 10 minutes a day to catch up on my feeds, how would I do that?

Well, the answer up to now was TechMeme or one of its sisters.

TechMeme actually works great. Tracks thousands of news feeds and every few minutes it remeasures which ones are most important. Problem is that TechMeme only covers tech news. Its sister sites cover gossip, or regular news/politics, or baseball.

But what about 800 custom feeds that you hand picked?

Well, that’s what FeedHub is aimed at.

You put your feeds into it and FeedHub will pick the best stuff to show you out of those feeds.

One problem: for me it doesn’t work. It doesn’t pick the stuff I’d really like to read from my feeds. Almost none of the items match my link blog, for instance.

Now, keep in mind that you’re not supposed to judge FeedHub by its first results. You’re supposed to train it. By using the feed items and clicking on the ones you like, and voting up certain topics, over time it will start bringing ou a lot more stuff that matches your interests.

That’s cool, but I haven’t gotten to that level of commitment with it yet to find out if it really works that well.

I really want to believe in it, though, because I think something like this holds some major keys to information overload and giving us a “custom TechMeme.”

I’ll keep playing with this and see if I can get it to work well for me.

Some other concerns:

1. How big a market is there for a “custom TechMeme?” Not too many people I know are trying to read hundreds of feeds. Certainly not many busy executives who are looking for alternatives.
2. How will they make money? Advertising in the feed items? That’ll make reusing them far less popular and, even, could add its own new noise that’d offset the time savings.
3. What will they do with the attention information they are collecting? Let’s assume that they’ll get everyone who reads feeds to use it, well, then they’ll know more about us and our behavior than even Google does today.

How about you? Any of you playing with this? Are you looking for ways to subscribe to new feeds and get a custom Techmeme?

Oh, one more caveat. It takes up to a day to start working. So if you just try it for a few minutes you’ll have a totally unsatisfactory experience.

UPDATE: Got the videos up here.