June 28, 2008

New NoiseRiver App Adds Interest Filters to FriendFeed Stream

For those looking for FriendFeed Friday Tips #6, consider this post in lieu of the series. Our visits to see Sarah in the hospital prevented Friday posting. I'll look to be back on track next Friday.

As FriendFeed has grown its user base, the number of people to follow and items they add to their personal streams is increasing. Some are finding the resulting noise to be too much in its native form. While I've aggressively approached this issue by using the "Hide" function, others are looking to new services to take the next step, highlighting, in advance, those items that are most likely to draw your attention. NoiseRiver, a new service released yesterday, updates your stream based on instructions you give, including your liked and hated keywords and individuals, helping draw your eye to the best stuff fast.

As the author writes, NoiseRiver is not intended to replace FriendFeed outright, but instead, like FriendFeedMachine, FFToGo and other innovative apps, looks to fill a gap, extending the product with new features.

How NoiseRiver Describes Itself

Upon logging into NoiseRiver, you'll see your plain vanilla FriendFeed stream. But where NoiseRiver excels is in learning from hints you provide, including your giving keywords that you're most interested in, and those you are not, in the "My Interests" section. In fact, if you never want to see specific terms, like "Obama", "McCain" or "Fail Whale" again, all you have to do is make them a keyword, pull the slider to the left as far as it will go, signifying you hate a keyword, and check the box that reads, "Hide entries with a very high hated rank? (-100%)".

I Pick Keywords I Want to See Using Sliders

But more than just acting as a smart filter to hide topics you could care less about, NoiseRiver also lets you select terms you like, be they "Google", "RSS", or the iPhone.

You can also set parallel filters for people. If you have friends whose updates you simply don't want to miss, go to "My Neighborhood", where you can add people's FriendFeed nicknames, and again, move the slider to show how much you care about their entries in FriendFeed.

I Can Choose People's Importance As Well

Having applied updates to both your interests and your neighborhood, the result from NoiseRiver is the same FriendFeed you know, but with a colored overlay which guesses how much you will take interest in an item. If I said I like "duncanriley" and "Twitter", the green bar will be well to the right. If I said I like "scobleizer" or "davewiner" a little less, the bar will only go part of the way. NoiseRiver combines both your interests and your neighborhood, rather than having to choose one over the other.

The End Result Highlights My Anticipated Interests

Back in May, I wrote that Content filters were proving evasive for social media sites. In the ensuing month-plus, both FriendFeedMachine and NoiseRiver have taken aim at the problem, by leveraging FriendFeed's flexible API.

As with both FriendFeedMachine and FFToGo, NoiseRiver is no passive experience. All three applications enable you to make comments and like items from their interface, just as you would in FriendFeed. Making comments via NoiseRiver even adds a tag of "via NoiseRiver" in FriendFeed, helping to advertise the new service, as do the others. So if you already like FriendFeed, but want to find a better way to draw your eye to those things you'll like best, and hide the rest, NoiseRiver is a strong option. It's only been out for about 24 hours, so it should be fun to see what other options come next.