Thursday, July 26, 2012

Discovery engine for interesting articles

I have been looking around to see if I could quickly hack some APIs to suggest interesting news to read.  My idea was to receive daily journal of news on our family Kindle Touch.  It should contain two types of articles.  Articles that I should know (i.e. current events that everyone is talking about) and articles that I might be interested in knowing.

First one is easy.  I can get Google News RSS feed or WSJ feed to figure out what news are breaking today.  If I wanted real-time news, I can filter Twitter or Facebook posts.  But second one is not so straight forward.

How can I figure out what I might be interested in before me looking at it?

How do you find out what you don't know?
That's what I mean by discovery engine.
It seems an intractable question to answer.  But I think we can get close to it.

There are a dozen or so sites that I visit to get my news.  WSJ, Forbes, LinkedIn News, Google News, Google+, Facebook Interests, Hacker News, HBR and several blogs are the list.  It's often the case that I don't visit all sites each day because I simply don't have time to scout all sites to look for interesting article.

Once system know which sites that I visit, the question comes down to which article.  What kind of articles are the ones that I find interesting?

1. Relevant topics

My interest is fairly narrow.  I am always happy to find articles talking about social network, startups and products.

2. Relevant topics with lively discussion

When there is lively discussion on certain topic, I get to see cross section of like-minded people and what they are talking about.  I think Quora is becoming more interesting with experts sharing their lessons and opinions.

3. Relevant topics with lively discussion from new author

If the article is started by someone that I haven't read before, it's a plus.  Especially it's someone who is attracting lot of comments and creating community of experts around him, I want to know.

4. Relevant topics with lively discussion from new author that were read in its entirety by person with similar interest like me

And if the article is found interesting by someone with similar interest as in they actually read the entire article, then chances are higher that it will be interesting to me.

Does anyone else need this service?  If we had one, would you be interested in using it?

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