Early adopters and the Web 2.0 savvy have fully embraced their RSS feeds through their Google Reader, Bloglines or other services. Yet, RSS is not as widespread and mainstream as it potentially could and should be. ensembli, a ‘smart’ RSS tool, takes a different approach than some of the prominent RSS feeds with the goal of enhancing the everyday citizens’ online experience.
ensembli indexes RSS feeds and filters them through “relevance engine” based on a peer review, multi-agent software system (MAS). ensembli’s real power is in understanding what type of content individual users are interested in. Similar to how Pandora provides a relevant stream of music based on preferences, the more someone uses ensembli — reading, discarding and ignoring content – the more relevant the content ensembli delivers.
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ensembli provides more relevant, useful and current social content than other standard browsers. It is also beneficial in that it delivers top content from across the web, rather than the finite number of blogs in an RSS reader. Additionally, a problem with RSS feeds is the amount of content that builds up over time. ensembli eliminates this by providing only top relevant content on a particular interest/search terms. Another wonderful feature is that as your interests change – say from the presidential election to a new found focus on environmental issues – ensembli will quickly adapt with you. Ensembli also has useful built in features such as the ability to tweet stories, and – like standard RSS feeds – the ability to read stories directly on ensembli, or click-though to the original post. Stories are also organized based on interest and prioritized by personal relevance.
Many bloggers share thoughts about a broad variety of topics. For example, a sports blog will not focus only on soccer, but will also cover baseball, hockey, etc. As a result, RSS readers often receive stories that individuals would find interesting, but would likely not search for directly. This ability to receive trusted information from divers sources is one of the great benefits of RSS feeds, and, because searches are based on predetermined topics, is something that ensembli is unable to provide.
Many people are unable to give their RSS feeds the attention they’d like to during the workweek. Moreover, many people are not familiar with the benefits or feel intimidated by RSS feeds. ensembli is great for current, relevant information for those short on time, or for those less Web 2.0 savvy. This service, in combination with a traditional RSS feed for blogs deserving consistent reads, offers a great way to stay informed on the latest news.