Is BlogBridge a 'next generation' Feed Reader?

In response to a query from Andrew Watt and Danny Ayers about what they called next-generation infromation aggregators, I wrote this, and I thought I'd share it here too.

Dear Andrew and Danny,

Still in early beta, but certainly not secret is BlogBridge, www.blogbridge.com, an app I've been working on, that I've been describing as a next generation blog aggregator.

In fact I am moving away from the term 'blog' as being too limited, and I think embracing the term 'feed'. Why? Because I kind of suspect that one of the early values of something like BlogBridge to people outside the hard-core blog fanatics (I am one) will be as an alternative way to email to receive notifications (like from UPS), mailing list updates (like from yahoo.groups) , and online web site content updates (like NYT.) These are or will soon be using RSS and possibly are of more direct benefit to someone who is not signed up to the blog phenomenon.

Why do I call BlogBridge 'next gen'? The focus of the app is to actively help the user deal with information overload. In features that are working now or are planned for the first release, BlogBridge does things like:

1) allow the user to indicate which are their favorite feeds (via a Tivo like thumbs up feature.) This information is used to generate a composite 1-5 star rating.

2) takes advantage of services like Technorati to figure out how 'authoratitive' a certain feed is (based on the number of inlinks) and factors that into the 1-5 star rating

3) Lets the user easily temporarily filter out or permanently unsubscribe from feeds which fall below a certain star rating

4) Analyzes the feeds the user is looking at, and locates links to new feeds that the user didn't know about and 'suggests' them if they are highly rated.

5) The user can set up a set of 'keywords' which are then highlighted in the articles, as well as summarized at a feed level so you can easily find those feeds which are talking about stuff you are interested in.

6) A user's thumbs-up rating can be uploaded to a companion BlogBridge Service. Eventually this will form the basis of a collaborative filtering capability.

7) Allows a user to share their particular set of favorite blogs with other users. This will allow me for example to subscribe to a set of blogs that mimic what Danny Ayers is following on the subject of RSS.

And there are other ideas floating around. The central theme is dealing with information overload and saving time for the user who is interested in following a hundred or more feeds.

As an aside, this is an open source project. It is a client side app (other than the service which of course is a server side.) And it is cross platform, written in Java, and runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux (as well as others I am sure, I just haven't tested them.)

I hope this is useful and of course would love to be included in your book. Any follow up questions are welcome and you can of course also download and play with the current beta.
Posted on November 7, 2004 and filed under BlogBridge.