July 31st, 2007


Things I Need: Blog Condensation

Half the difficulty in coming up with new products is figuring out what's useful -- what folks might want enough to make a viable product. So it's worth writing down the ones that I think of, in case I ever find myself looking to start a company.

Today's pick: a system that not only aggregates my blogs, but *sorts* them. The thing is, I spend the first half an hour or so of each day reading through tech blogs, to stay on top of the industry. But while the blogs aren't redundant with each other (I've chosen a long list where each has its own particular strengths), they *do* overlap heavily -- it's not unusual to wind up with 4-6 articles on essentially the same hot subject. I try to skim quickly past the articles on topics I've already read, but it's still a waste of time.

What I think I want is a more powerful blog aggregator, which takes the specified blogs and groups them, presenting me with just one article on a given topic and putting the rest under a "read more" link that shows who else is talking about the topic. Ideally, it would allow me to specify a priority order of which blog to present as the top article. Once I've marked the topic as read, all of the articles on it automatically get marked as being at least sort of read -- it may or may not be worth distinguishing between the ones I've really read and the ones the system decided were redundant.

It's not a trivial problem, but I suspect that by now it's tractable. We've already got services like Sphere that do this sort of thing, but not (AFAIK) with the level of customization I'm looking for. With semantic analysis providing some heuristics, and link analysis doing more, I'd bet that you could do at least an adequate job on this...