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Exploring Google Reader's "Sort by Magic" feature

Sortbymagic Who has logged into their Google Reader account lately to discover 1000 or more items waiting to be read? Raise your hand. (Mine is currently raised.)

To combat this information overload issue, Google recently launched a feature called "Sort by Magic." This is basically an algorithm that prioritizes the information flowing into your RSS reader for you, based on what you've liked in the past (via the "star" and "share" buttons). As we all know, Google is really good at algorithms, so go ahead and give this a spin.

For those that don't know Google Reader, it's a news aggregator that lets you subscribe to various forms of content - sports scores, blog posts, keyword searches, news headlines, et cetera - and read them all in one place.

On day one, the feature won't be very intelligent. Over time, as you star and share more items, it will get smarter and more valuable for you. Google discusses the feature more in-depth on their Reader blog.

Facebook recently made some dramatic changes to their News Feed for the same reason: preventing individual filter failure. If filters fail, users stop logging in, so it's smart that both companies are tweaking their technology to address this.

What are your thoughts? Have you used the new "Sort by Magic" feature, and is it working for you?

Nathan T. Wright is the founder of Lava Row, a social media education, consulting and strategy firm based in Des Moines' East Village.


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that is awesome. That used to be a feature of the very first RSS reader I used until they were bought and shut the product down. I haven't seen anything similar til now! Thanks for sharing I never look up there!

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