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Reuters of RSS - Updated

posted by DL Byron on May 04, 2004

I wondered today where the Reuters of RSS is? So I got a bunch of feeds that all pretty much talk about the same thing: Gizmodo, Boing Boing, Cool Tools, Endgadget. With all the multitasking I do, it gets tedious. I don’t want to miss an important Goatse update from Boing Boing, but also don’t need to read the same story on 7 different blogs. Should we expect a consolidation of sources and maybe a business plan for it?

Another example is Google news, which displays the headline, source, and related links. With the same info in a feed, I’d know if I’ve seen the news item twenty times before and can then choose to view a local spin on it. I get the value of RSS, but I don’t think it’s saving me anytime when I’m reading the same topic over and over again.


When Clip-n-Seal hit the blog marketing Trifecta, I didn’t check read my RSS feeds for a few days. When I finally checked, I had thousands of links and headlines to check. Sure, I could expire them all, but maybe I’d miss something. So, there I am, looking at a screen with a sea of “headline, blurb, links,” and I’m thinking, “geez,” some pictures would be nice. I could scan to see a photo that interests me and kick on that. Is RSS a triumph for Jakob Nielsen? Is it the developers over the designers? Would it be hard and controversial to put some design into the feed view?

Comments (4)
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Apr 16  |  Heidi said:

It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to build some kind of search-and-hide functionality into the readers. If an item contains a redundant link (to one prior to it in an ordered, prioritized, aggregated feed), the reader could simply hide that instance.

In fact, I find it hard to believe that doesn’t exist already.

— H

Apr 19  |  -b- said:

Agreed - I’d think it’d ping the link cosmos.

May 07  |  Sam Walker said:

Seems like a good place for something like how Threads work in mail clients such as Apple’s Mail.app it does some basic keyword matching to find messages about hte same thing, and then clumps them al together. Clicking it gives you a list of all the messages in the thread, and then lets you click on any one to view it.

This would be a great way to handle this problem if more than one posts have a link to the same page, group them together. However, clicking on the grouping would give you a basic summary of the posts (by finding most common keywords, preferable organizing them intelligently into full sentences) and alink. You could then click on individual entries to see people’s comments on the link some more keyword checking would be used to put more unique posts at the top of the list, so you could read the ones that actually express someone’s opinions, and not the multitude that simply give a link and little else. Also, if the link is only one of multiple links in a post (or only appears in one sub-section of a post, and not others I’m sure the structure of RSS and a well-formatted blog would allow you to determine this) it would also be listed individually, as well as being included in the grouped message list, being flagged as something that probably contains other info.

Jun 25  |  Heidi said:

I do get photos in some feeds. Reluct.com for one. In fact, I think all the design feeds (furniture, architecture, interiors, etc.) should have pictures. It almost doesn’t make so much sense without them.

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