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The Future Of Feed Reading

Shawn Blanc:

And so, could this hypothetical service take all that information, put it into a database, and then find and recommend things for me to read? I think yes. That’d be the easy part. The hard part is if the service could pick out articles for me as well as Pandora can at pick out songs, or as well as Netflix can pick out 4-star movies. Now, wouldn’t that be something?

Services like Feedly, Feedbin, and Feed Wrangler have pretty much nailed the filesystem of news idea of RSS readers (with some unique differences, as Shawn outlines for Feed Wrangler).

The next step is discovery of relevant and personalized news in an RSS-based environment. No one seems to be doing that quite right at this point and there are a lot of services and technologies that may be using RSS in the backend but that are trying different proprietary approaches. Flipboard with magazines and top stories; Zite with algorithms; Feedly with popular feeds; others with lightweight Twitter and Facebook integrations.

My primary concern is that a feature such as the one envisioned by Shawn – which I’d love, by the way – would require a tremendous amount of scale, data, analysis, time, and, ultimately, resources, which I’m not sure an independently developed feed reader could ever have (or pull off properly). But, yes, that sort of news recommendation inside a feed reader would be fantastic.