MyToday.com (created by us at Netcore) is a public RSS aggregator providing the latest news, views and content on a topic-based collection of feeds, called Dailies. It is simultaneously available on the web through an Ajax client and on the mobile phone in WML. Check it out and let me know what you think of it, and of enhancements you’d like to see.
Here is how my colleague, Veer Bothra, describes the thinking behind MyToday.
Public versus Personal Aggregators
Personal aggregators like bloglines.com, my.yahoo.com, live.com etc. give the users an empty plate which needs to be filled with feeds which the user knows about. This approach ignores the fact that users in general are interested in a subject but not necessarily aware about quality feeds and sources in that area. A public aggregator like MyToday.com depends on editorial expertise to choose and pick the best sources in a subject. This way, the reader can get going without any sweat.
Source versus Stories
Aggregators like news.google.com, topix.net are story based. Their endeavor is to distill the most important stories at any point of time. MyTodays selection is based on the quality of the source and not on the stories. Therefore the selection process when making a Daily is stringent to maintain the quality of content.
MyToday consists of a Micro-content client and an aggregation system. The micro-content client is built keeping in mind the nature of micro-content like blog posts and news stories. They are small in size, large in volume and more often than not, time sensitive. MyTodays micro-content client makes it easier to consume lots of information quickly.
MyTodays underlying feed aggregation system claims to turnaround Dailies in 30 minutes. Give it an OPML of feeds and it can create a new Daily in 30 minutes which then auto-updates. Niche information / content verticals, available on both PC and mobile, can be created and served with low human intervention.
The reasoning behind public aggregators is that most users want to start with a choice made by the experts. But it is also true that most wouldnt be satisfied with the default for long. They would want to tweak it a bit – add a thing and remove some. This is where personalisation comes in as the natural next phase of development. Keep watching.
This is what Jonathan Boutelle had to say after he saw it at BarCamp Delhi:
It seems to be a specialized AJAX homepage. It allows the quick creation of niche publications that aggregate and present rss data. The design is very slick, with geographic filtering. It also has very rich integration with phone (at sister site m.mytoday.com). It makes it very simple to great aggregated feeds. Check out mytoday.com/bcdelhi, which they built in an hour and which is consuming all the blogs, tagged photos, etc from barcamp delhi. Awesome!
The core insight of this approach seems to be that most “real people” won’t build up an rss reader from scratch. But they’ll be OK with deleting feeds from a pre-existing set.