AideRSS Google Reader Extension – Filter Your Reading, Easily

aideRSS_logo AideRSS, the excellent free RSS filtering service, just made their service even more accessible with a new Google Reader Firefox extension. This is the first application to be based on AideRSS’ newly-released Postrank API.

The AideRSS Google Reader extension makes it easy to separate the wheat from the chaff in your RSS subscriptions by integrating AideRSS’ PostRank™ system within Google Reader.

AideRSS ranks posts based on measures of engagement including traffic, comments, trackbacks, saves to social bookmarking sites, and discussion on micro-blogging sites like Twitter. With the extension, you can filter your feeds, from within Google Reader, based on that ranking.

filter

I’ve used the extension for a few days now. I’ve found it very helpful when I don’t have much time and need to try to absorb the best of my subscriptions quickly- by setting the filter level to “Great” or “Best” you can pick off the best of the crop and leave the rest for when you have more time.

I really like this extension (and AideRSS in general) as a way to help filter my massive backlog of posts. However, there are a few issues:

  • It takes time for AideRSS’ measures to kick in – comments, trackbacks etc don’t come immediately. If you read all the latest posts in your feeds throughout the day, the extension is largely meaningless.
    • This isn’t just a problem with the extension – I also found this problem when using AideRSS as part of my simple blog monitoring solution a little while back. If you’re looking for time-sensitive results, it’s not for you. I don’t see a way around this – AideRSS just isn’t built for this kind of application.
  • The extension slows Google Reader down considerably as it re-calculates the ranking for each post whenever you switch between feeds.
  • This kind of filtering, while valuable, lowers the chance that you’ll stumble upon that ‘hidden nugget’ that other people haven’t found.
  • Apparently, my ‘Advertising and PR’ feeds, with way over 1000 unread posts at time of writing, doesn’t have any posts that are worthy of the “Best” category.

It my seem like I’m tearing into this extension, but I’m not. I like it. However, you should be aware of the limitations if you start to use the service so you can adjust your use appropriately.

A few recommendations for how to use the AideRSS extension effectively:

  • Don’t bother filtering the feeds you stay on top of throughout the day.
  • Use the filter when you just have a few minutes to spare and want to pick out the best of your backlog of feeds. However, leave your favourite feeds unfiltered.
  • If you want to apply more persistent and flexible filtering on your feeds (just subscribing to a site’s best posts, for example), use AideRSS’ full service through its website (Side note: I would love it if the extension remembered how I like to filter each feeds and apply that filter by default on those posts .Clarification: The extension does remember your settings for each post – see the comments below – I’d love for it to remember the settings for each feed and apply them when you roll-up to the aggregate view).

Have you used this extension? What did you think? If you use another service to filter your RSS feeds, what do you think of it?

For information on how to install and use the AideRSS Google Reader extension, check out this video:

  • Hi Dave, thanks for the write-up!

    It’s interesting, a way to handle the issue of time being necessary to get accurate rankings would be to engage in predictive rankings based on a site’s content’s past performance. We’ve had both requests to implement such functionality and beseeching never to implement it, since currently rankings are based on hard data and with predictive rankings there is an element of “guesstimation”.

    That “Best” category issue looks like a bug. I’ll get the guys to have a look at it tomorrow and will give you a holler if we have additional questions or need more info from you.

    Regarding your last bullet point, I’m not clear on what you’re looking for. The Google Reader extension should “remember” filtering levels you’ve set per feed and retain them when you return to read them in Google Reader. Are you not seeing that behaviour? Or are you referring to something else?

  • Hi Melanie,

    Haha, I almost wrote something in the post to the effect of “I expect the AideRSS people will stop by to give their take on this,” and sure enough…!

    I could have been clearer in my last point – it would be great if you could set a filter level for a specific feed within a folder and have that filter level still apply to the feed when you view the whole folder. I didn’t see that happen, but then again it’s very hard to tell when you’re flipping back and forth with lots of posts.

  • Brad Buset

    Just installed and am starting to play with the extension. I’ll be using it mainly for returning from weekends with no, or little connectivity, and I need to scan 1500+ items before the first cup of coffee is done. I like that I can turn the filtering on and off (in the Greasemonkey version anyway), so I won’t have to use it when I’m on top of things during the week.

    It would be nice to apply the filtering only to certain folders. Alternatively, keep seperate accounts for ‘work’ and ‘play’ feeds – google accounts are fairly cost effective after all.

    B

  • Hi again,

    Of course I’d stop by! 🙂

    Re. the filter, that used to be how things work — all Feed-based PostRank. But now with the addition of Thematic PostRank, at the folder level all the feeds in that folder are ranked compared to each other’s past performance. (As opposed to Feed-based PostRank where a feed is only ranked based on its own individual past performance.)

    The ability to compare both apples to apples and apples to oranges, as it were, was a frequent request, which is why added that functionality.

    @Brad Buset — Thanks for the feedback. We’re always looking to know how people use the functionality and what their ideal info management war chest would look like. Gives us a solid basis for future product planning. 🙂