Steve Borche of Connecting the Dots has an idea for "smart aggregators" in Information Overload: Can you see what's coming? This is something I've been looking for as well for some of the same reasons, primarily information overload. But also for better flow (dare I say, aggregation) of the river that flows through my aggregator.
[The] content deluge -- and identifying trends and the nuggets of useful information -- is a huge problem for me and for you regardless of what industry you're in or job you have. It will become an even bigger issue when content producers around the world are increasingly accessible (with automatic translation getting more robust and accurate) and people interested in a topic or category are then compelled to *widen* the scope of information they want to consume, analyze and understand.
[via Alex Barnett, smart aggregators]
Borche makes the distinction between socially smart aggregation and smart aggregation that is focused on me (the user). Socially smart aggregators are tools that monitor a given "social circle" and highlight websites / articles that appear to be interesting to the community, based on collective action within that community. If you're a big technology person, then Tech Memeorandum is for you. Borche says that he doesn't necessarily want everything that Tech Memeorandum picks up -- he wants this to allow for more facets, so that he can filter based on his particular interests or his particular circle of people. The next step will be tools that let me filter based on a pre-specified list of others (and David Weinberger is asking for current examples). He wants a smart aggregator.
Smart aggregators let me do some of the socially smart stuff, such as further filtering of Tech Memeorandum. But it lets me mix up my own feeds and deal with them as I wish. Within my own aggregator, I would like to
- Highlight a post and see everyone that is talking about it in my current feeds, and/or on the web at large.
- Highlight a given topic and see all the articles that reference it quickly within my feeds (and beyond).
- Make these filters persistent, so the next time the aggregator gets news, I can quickly see the new "interesting" stuff.
- Figure out a way to train the filters to help me find new stuff that I might think is interesting, like the Bayesian spam filters.
As I've mentioned before, I like threading as implemented in SharpReader. I also like the direction BlogBridge and GreatNews are going with their persistent filters. I believe GreatNews let me set a filter that always marks items as read, such as "topic x" that I never want to read if it appears in a post title. Can someone bring all these things together?
Some of my previous thoughts on aggregator features: