May 19, 2011

Linktamer: Coming Soon to Find Your Best News Links

While we're on the topic of personalization and filters... there's a new project called Linktamer currently under construction that looks like it could be a Web-based tool to find the most interesting stories from your feeds based on your interests, relying heavily on your direct feedback to stories, and the tags describing them. While there's been no mention thus far of the service's plans for a public debut, a Twitter account (@linktamer) exists, possibly waiting for the day it's officially unveiled.

Like many other services, including my6sense and others described in last night's post, Linktamer breaks the latest news into two separate streams - that of the most recent content, and that ordered by your own assumed preferences, garnered based on inputs to the system. Every item contains the option to give future similar stories more value, or less, and with more development, it looks like there is future opportunity to sort stories by specific topic and drill down to find the best by subject, although that's not yet enabled.

Recent Items Pouring into Linktamer Without Assigned Scores (Not Logged In)

Much like the prototypical RSS reader, Linktamer streams in items, each providing a publish date, a headline, and a source. Linktamer extracts a lead graphic for those stories that have one, extracts about a dozen tags that describe the article, and delivers a score called "Signal", an analysis of how interesting that story is to the logged in user. Stories with no relevance have a rating of 00, with most relevance increasing presumably to 100.

Top Stories On Linktamer With Signal Scores
(Options to Provide Feedback Illustrated On Right)

To provide feedback for items in the system, there are four actions for each post on Linktamer. One can like an item by clicking the heart symbol, click the X to say you are "not interested" in the post (or others of its type, click the checkmark to indicate it has been read, or the arrow to share it - most likely to external social networks (though this is not yet implemented).

Items Sorted by Time Get Scores, If Logged In As a User

What Linktamer provides now is a raw hint at what could be another interesting alternative to personalized RSS streams - one that doesn't look to rely heavily (if at all) on collaborative filtering or simple popularity as many other services do, and starts with the Web while many others have kept their focus on mobile devices. The project appears to be thee brainchild of Alan Grow, who may emerge to claim it as time to launch approaches. Looking forward to seeing this one develop.

Disclosures: As noted often, I am vice president of marketing at my6sense, focused on personalization of news and social streams, much like Linktamer's future mission could be.

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