March 24, 2008

Toluu Offers Gateway to Friends' RSS Feeds, Recommends New Ones

While Google Reader, Shyftr, AssetBar and others have developed strong options for online RSS feed reading, it's still not easy to learn what feeds your friends read, and what feeds you're missing, which could be of interest to you. Now, a new entrant into the market, Toluu, aims to fit this niche, giving you a new resource to match your RSS OPML exploits against those of your contacts, or even find new people who share the same interests, or new feeds.

The concept behind Toluu is fairly simple. First, login. Second, upload an OPML file you've exported from your current feed reader. Third, mark which of your feeds are your favorites. Then, by clicking "matches", you can learn which other Toluu users share your interests, indicated by a %. You can browse those individuals' feeds, see which you are most likely to appreciate, those feeds you both share, and which you aren't viewing.

Toluu says Caleb and I are 79% compatible...

While you can choose to browse feeds in Toluu, it's not aiming to fully replace your feed reader of choice just yet. Its beginnings arose not with the intent of becoming a world power, but instead, to enable you and your friends to share and discover new feeds.

The Toluu feed reader in action on How to Split an Atom

"Toluu got started one day at work when some friends at the office sent me some posts from blogs I had never heard of before. It seemed remarkable that I read over 150 feeds in Google Reader and yet my friends had found blogs that I really enjoyed, but had never read before," lead developer Caleb Elston wrote in an e-mail. "I set out to create a site that was focused on sharing the feeds you read with friends and discovering new interesting feeds. I did not want to create another feed reader, there are many fantastic feed readers out there and new ones being launched and updated everyday."

My Toluu Profile, with Favorites...

Toluu is a lightweight utility that sits between the original source of the information, and your primary feed reader. Toluu even offers a simple solution enabling users to add a feed to both Toluu and their feed reader of choice, by adding a bookmarklet, which first adds the feed to Toluu, and then continues to your preferred solution. In the weeks I've been trying Toluu out, it's been remarkably easy to add feeds to both Toluu and Google Reader, rather than worrying my various OPML files were all getting out of sync.

Toluu also gets smarter as activity increases, thanks to collaborative filtering. Based on your reading habits, and those of your friends, individual feeds can be tagged as "favorites" or "fantastic", rising throughout the user community, also letting you find new recommended feeds you might not have known ever existed. And over time, Toluu is designed, not to find the blogs that are one-hit wonders, with the occasional interesting story, but instead, to find those you'll be returning to time and again - this time, with a little help from your friends.

Discover the feeds I read. Follow me on to see!Learn more about Toluu on the Toluu Blog, see my profile at, or request a beta invite. Of course, you can always leave a note in the comments with your e-mail, and we'll be sure to get you in the door. After all, for social services like Toluu, the more friends we have actively participating, the better the service will get.