February 13, 2011

XYDO Preparing Personalized News Hub With Quora Flavor

Continuing the mantra that the third wave of the Web is one of personalized news, streams and social experiences, XYDO is on the verge of launching what they call a personalized news network that claims to show you only the news you find interesting from all the friends and people you follow across the social Web. XYDO claims to learn what you like, and feels a lot like an intelligent mix between Digg and Quora, tapping into your social graph to discover the most frequently shared articles, spotting trending topics, and presenting the opportunity to follow subjects, sites and users.

Founded by Eric Roach (@veroach) and Cameron Brain (@cameronbrain), the app pulls links shared from your Twitter, automatically assigns the links categories (much like Socialmedian once did), and tabulates shares from your network to assign a point value which brings items to the top. But more than a simple share counter, XYDO starts you off with asking for you to select the topics you want to follow and avoiding those you don't. Want to follow Apple but not Android, or want to stay on top of Entertainment News, but care less about World News? XYDO will make that process pretty easy.

Personalized News Promised from XYDO

What you select as your favorite subjects, in addition to the people you follow, becomes what XYDO calls "Your Activity Stream". This differs from the top level XYDO network, which highlights activity across the entire site. Both streams are cut by three sections, including "Trending", "Newest", and the "Top in 24 hours", all self-explanatory and familiar to Digg and Twitter users.

Setting Up XYDO With News I Want to Follow

Where XYDO gets more interesting than simply yet another top news site is in the details around each ingested item. You can vote specific shares up or down (like on Digg and the since-retired Ballhype sites), you can see what topics each item is slugged with, see who shared an item, and you can even Discuss items within XYDO itself. Each item becomes a potential conversation platform, pulling in the full RSS feed and adding the option to have a siloed comment exchange - a practice which set the blog world ablaze back in 2008, but is practically accepted as standard practice by now.

Top Trending Tech News on XYDO

The site starts to feel like Quora in a few ways in that after a few clicks, you could find yourself deeper and deeper into XYDO that you may never get out. Clicking on one story (such as GigaOM's coverage of Uber getting VC money) leads to more stories on Gadgets, Silicon Valley, Technology and Business. Related articles span the right column on the page, as do the ubiquitous share buttons that allow for sending the item to Facebook, Twitter and other users' in boxes. Of course, from the Gadgets and Personal Technology Page, you can follow this item in XYDO, catch the RSS, and in extreme Quora-like fashion, every single topic features an equivalent Twitter account for tending updates, just like Quora did for top questions and answers. But instead of the q_ prefix, XYDO prefers x_, such as @x_gadgets and @x_techcrunch.

Top Items from Gadgets on XYDO In the Last Day

For each topic, one finds top recommenders of content and contributing sources. Feel strongly enough and you can add new sources to topics you follow as well. Xydo also offers a multi-faceted search engine that crawls subjects, connections and articles for keywords.

Leaving a Comment on One XYDO Article

A Single Share on XYDO With the Original Share and Total Points

Assuming XYDO can accurately and consistently deliver topical content on news I care about, filtered and ranked by my social graph, they've got a strong offering on their hands. Early use, even now that the site is in private beta, shows a high level of signal versus noise, especially after selecting more keywords and connections, while avoiding others. But the service isn't perfectly social. While Quora is social at its core, based on personal answers to topics, news runs the day at XYDO and people are on the periphery. I may find we share interests and you've voted up topics I like. We may even exchange comments on a shared article in the site, but bumping into you seems tangential to the service more than its core offering.

XYDO may be in private beta now, but they swear they are letting in new people every week. Existing users, such as myself, can also invite you. So if you want an invite, let me know in the comments, and I will dish out as many as I can find. You can find me here: http://www.xydo.com/users/978.

Disclosure: Theoretically, my6sense, where I am VP of Marketing, is in the personalized news game, which I should note. Our approach to determining personalization and product deliverables vary greatly from XYDO, however.

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