myfeedz – Adobe Labs

Adobe has entered the “lets get it on” (read “social”) rss aggregator fray with myfeedz – “A Social Newspaper”.
To quote Adobe, “myFeedz uses artificial intelligence techniques to show you personalized news about topics you are interested in.”

I am going to give myfeedz a fair chance to get social with me for a few days before commenting on it but a couple of things – especially since my opinion can make or break a “Web 2.0” site :). I’ve been using it sporadically over the weekend.

The first thing that struck me as soon as I took at look at the myFeedz main page was that there were a whole lot of completely unnecessary Flash movies (See screenshot below – the “Adblock” signs indicate where Flash movies are located). All the section headings on the page are Flash movies! This is totally a case of throwing a grenade to kill an ant!!! (Forgive the analogy). Granted perhaps the only way to guarantee custom fonts look the same way on any platform and on any browser is to use Flash but you have your priorities wrong here people. You can have great aesthetic looking section headings without the use of relatively heavy Flash movies. You are Adobe, you have to have a clue about this kind of thing. Use Flash but use it for what it for what it is meant – for achieving complex richness and usability- not for displaying custom font section headings.

 

 

myfeedz screenshot

Breathe…letting it go…
As already mentioned, myFeedz aims to use an algorithm to judge on your behalf what is relevant and important to you using the rss feeds you ask it to look up. The way I feel about it, if you are a serious enough information hound to subscribe to multiple RSS feeds, you probably like to be in control of the way you go through your feeds – although I would also be interested in the suggestions myFeedz threw up. myFeedz does seem to prioritize and throw up information from other users’ feeds based on my reading habits – which is a good feature – will have to wait and see how well the algorithm does.

The myFeedz page is made of multiple parts:

  • It has two tag clouds – my tags pulled from my feeds and hot “system” tags, probably meaning tags popular amongst all myFeedz users.
  • It also has two “Top Articles” sections – again one based on my profile and habits, one based on everybody on myFeedz.
  • Also has a Recent Articles section listing the latest articles from my feeds – there doesn’t seem to be an option to set how many articles I can see in the recent articles section though.

The user can personalize myFeedz by adding or removing tags that the user might or might not be interested in respectively. The user can also pull tags from suggested system tags and add to his/her own.

While writing this, I realized why I haven’t taken an instant liking to myFeedz. It’s cramming too much into one page, trying to do too many things at the same time – and not in a very elegant fashion. It’s controlling both quality and quantity of my desired information. While I am very interested in the social side of things, I also want an option alongside to be able to go through my feeds in an organized fashion. It shouldn’t be and doesn’t have to be one or the other.

I love being social but myFeedz is like being social after 50 Tequila shots – I don’t know what I am being social about anymore!

Came across myFeedz first via the Adobe XML News aggregator on tacfug.org

[Update] Also agree with the “River of news” feature that Robert Scoble talks about here. I’ve gone through all the usual and not so usual desktop and online aggregators and usually get the itch to change readers after a week or two. I have been with Google Reader for 3 months now and am the most content I have been in a long time.

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