Yesterday Google rolled out video alerts to its Google Alerts service. If you've never used Alerts, it's a handy way to get Web content updates delivered straight to your e-mail inbox based on keywords. In the case of the new video search, Google will deliver links to videos it's indexed. So how is this helpful? Say you're a big video fan, and you dig seeing those Diet Coke and Mentos videos online. There are always some crazy teenagers out in the suburbs doing new things with them, and that equates to a lot of new videos. … Read more
There are several newsreader apps for iPhone, but this app might have the others beat--at least in the ease-of-use category. Opening this app gives you a list of categories to choose from. Once you pick a category, you're presented with all the popular feeds that fit the category. We especially like the way this app presents feeds from a site with a ticker, making it easy to pick out a good story as it floats by.
iPhone link: http://www.feedmenews.net/
NBC's recent withdraw from the iTunes store leaves the millions of users of Apple iPods without a legitimate way to purchase and watch NBC's content. Could this be the push that brings easy-to-use 'piracy' to the masses? This article discusses the issues, and then provides step-by-step instructions to setup a computer to automatically download any of hundreds of TV shows as soon as they are broadcast and put online.
In true Webware fashion, Plusmo's site offers hands-on excitement--the chance to publish and share widget mash-ups and create an iPhone widget from templates. Users can also make personal blogs available as a Plusmo widget, and can install a browser bookmarklet or Yahoo plug-in to snag feeds while they surf.
Getting started with Plusmo
Multiple carriers and platforms, small screen sizes, and a glut of information out there make quickly and easily accessing mobile content a downright challenge. That's why interestingly (and wisely), Plusmo steers clear of browser turf wars raging among third-party mobile browsers like Opera Mini (new review) and Minimo (hands-on review); a good move.… Read more
RSS feeds should now be full Macalopey goodness.
Turns out all the horned one had to do was ask. How 'bout that?
Thanks, Kelly and Bernie!
UPDATE: Whoops! Let's call this an experiment. It turns out that a consequence of this that the Macalope didn't realize is that CNet doesn't pay for someone who just looks at the RSS feed. If no one views the page anymore then the brown and furry one doesn't get paid and if he's not getting paid then the little Macalopes don't get their little hooves shod. And nobody … Read more
Google has added a handy search box to its popular Reader service. The new box sits snack dab on the top of the Google Reader screen and lets you search through any entries from your subscribed blogs. There's a handy drop down menu to sort what types of items you want to search though, including read and starred items, along with your folders and subscriptions.
This is a helpful addition to people who want to sort their news. While jumping from feed to feed in Google reader isn't tough, there really hasn't been a way to sort … Read more
Bloglines has just launched a new beta version of its site. Bloglines has been an immensely popular Web-based RSS reader since its launch in 2003, so it's great to see that it is stepping up its game with this new release. It went in the obvious, but logical, direction of offering a customized start page, with the feeds you are the most interested in. I've talked before about how the personalized start page market is already very crowded, but Bloglines might have a loyal enough user base and a good enough reputation to make it work here.
First … Read more
I'm not going to beat around the bush here, Streamy is a Web service I've been looking forward to getting my hands on for some time now. Well, to be exact, it's been just more than a month since I first heard about it, from a mysterious YouTube video that caught my attention. I was lucky enough to get an invite to the still-private service earlier today. I've been testing it for the last hour or so and am already impressed. Not because it looks really flashy (which it does), but because it has the groundwork for a very socialized surfing experience without requiring you to install a new Web browser, or discontinue using services you're already familiar with.
In a nutshell, the service is a hybrid between Digg, Facebook, your favorite instant-messaging client, Google Reader, Twitter, and Del.icio.us. By its very name, Streamy is a mashup service. It pulls together a variety of your social streams: be it your favorite blog feeds, news alerts, or friends updates, and rolls them up into a slick package.
On the social networking and bookmarking side of things, every user gets a profile and an online presence. You can fill the profile with all sorts of information about yourself, but the real clincher here is a listing of what feeds you're subscribed to and groups you've joined. The feed reader itself lets you subscribe to as many RSS feeds as you'd like and view them all without having to leave the page. If there's any embedded content like video or music players, that comes along for the ride too.
If you find anything interesting while browsing, you can share it in several ways. There's the typical "e-mail this" option and quick links to publish it to the Streamy community, to a group you're a member of, or your friends. Much of the interface is drag and drop, and as an "aha!" moment earlier, I shared something with another Streamy user by simply dragging a story headline onto their buddy icon. Cool.
I intend on giving Streamy some more of my time to really get a feel for how it handles a huge influx of feed subscriptions and a growing user base as the service opens up. In the meantime, here are some screenshots of the interface. There are several more after the jump, so be sure to click the "read more" link below.
As expected, address and calendar organizer Plaxo unveiled on Monday its Pulse social-networking site.
Rumors about Plaxo expanding into social networking have been floating about recently; the company confirmed them to a number of press outlets last week and made some screenshots available in advance.
Now you can play with the beta service yourself. But don't call it a social-networking site; Pulse is really one part microblogging platform and one part RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader. And despite the fact that such a description sounds nauseatingly Web 2.0 pitchy, this is a service that Plaxo hopes will appeal … Read more
Many bloggers put a "blogroll," a list of other blogs they like, on the sidebars of their pages. Blogrolls help the bloggers who create them feel like they're in a club with writers they like. Reciprocal blogrolling makes everyone feel all warm and fuzzy. But blogrolls aren't very functional, since static lists of links quickly become invisible to readers.
Lists of dynamic content are different. That's why Webware recently launched a news ticker (see the right-hand sidebar). It pulls related--even competitive--content from blogs we respect. We think it's useful, and we also think all site publishers, from retailers to highly focused bloggers, would do readers a service by offering something similar.
We use a Newsgator product, customized for CNET, to do this, but it's not the only solution. I also tried out two other services that anyone can plug into their sites: MineKey and RollSense. These services select content that's automatically custom-tailored to each site visitor. Google Reader and RSSMixer (review) are other options, without the fancy automatic story selection.
Both MineKey and RollSense let you feed in a list of blogs you like or respect, and then they create embeddable widgets that display items from those blogs that they think your readers will like. Based on what individuals click on, the list is further refined over time.
Of the two products, MineKey is simpler and easier to set up, and by default it makes more attractive widgets. If a user logs in, it will also give the person a history of what they've clicked on, which is useful. MineKey gives publishers detailed reports on what users are clicking on.
RollSense offers publishers more capabilities, including the option to turn off the personalization feature, which you may want to do if you your goal is just to keep readers up to date on the latest stories from your blogroll. You can then filter stories by keywords. RollSense also offers "packs," or pre-built blog collections, on specific topics. Like MineKey, it also creates reports, but they're not as useful.
How do they perform? Both need time to zero in on user preferences before they begin to deliver their best recommendations, but my quick testing shows that MineKey is better at automatically selecting content, although it doesn't seem to give enough weight to new items. But RollSense offers the control freak more influence over what is displayed. See for yourself. I've embedded both widgets in this blog (you may have to skip to the next page, depending on where you're seeing this), and fed them both three feeds: Webware, Crave, and News.com.
As I said, Google Reader and RSS Mixer are also options, although they don't have the automatic content selection of MineKey and RollSense. On Google, if you "share" posts from your feeds, you can display that list as a widget on any other site. Go to the "Your shared items" page to get the code. Google Reader doesn't automatically populate the widget; you have to manually select items to share them. But doing so is wicked fast, so if you want to maintain ultimate control over your news ticker, Google's the way to go. For just a river of items from feeds you select, see our writeup on RSSMixer.