July 30, 2009

My6sense: An iPhone App for Feeds, With Digital Intuition Built-in

The concept of information overload has been much-debated. Practically everyone, with myself being a rare exception, says they are overwhelmed by the amount of data that is flowing their way. Decisions need to be made in terms of what to read, where to read, how to respond, and how to interact with the growing data tsunami. And while I have suggested that you control your own destiny, and that any info overload is actually your fault and responsibility, one company, My6sense, has come up with a new approach to finding the most "important" and "relevant" items in your information trough, based on your own interaction. And this company is focused not so much on the deskbound information connoisseur, but for the new world of those on the go. The company has, after significant investment of time, debuted an iPhone application, soon to hit the iTunes store, which follows your own input, and based on your activity, finds what content is most relevant.

While the company awaits Apple's permission to be included in the Store, I have had the opportunity to get to know My6sense, and it aims to know me.

To start with My6sense, you can choose to import streams from services such as Google Reader, or you can add from predefined bundles, called My6sense picks. In addition, you can opt to follow a number of your social streams, or add a single feed, by URL.

Once you have imported feeds, you are presented with these entries, similar to how they are displayed in your RSS reader. On the first time you visit My6sense, it may not know you well, but as you scroll through your items and choose individual ones to read, its Digital Intuition meter scales further to the right until it is an expert on what you like and what you don't.

The idea? See if the best content will float to the top and deliver you the highest quality information, on the go.

Unsurprisingly, if your data set of activity is small, the potential for error is high, so it makes sense to train the application and get to know it well. For example, if you, like I did, happen to click one or two Valleywag and Mashable stories upon first loading the application, it may guess you like those sources, and make them have the lion's share of "top spots", until you scroll further down, and find more interesting items to read.

Like with Google Reader, My6sense presents you with the opportunity to share the best of what you find with your social networks. One feature, called your "stream", includes all those items you have hand-selected for sharing. And if you choose, you can send items from this stream, automatically, to networks including Twitter, Facebook and FriendFeed, upon entering your credentials. It's a lot like having your Google Reader link blog editable at your fingertips on your iPhone.

Now, before you remind me that, yes, Google Reader has a mobile version, and it works, even populating my link blog, keep in mind that My6sense is trying to do much more than just get you your feeds. It wants to correctly anticipate those you would like the most, and those which you're likely to skip. Following my initial few clicks, My6sense got to learning, and started to surface more pertinent stories, either based on topic, or the feed source itself. Once the product gets bounced into the iTunes Store, it could be a compelling option for those data-driven but data drunk folks who are asking for help.

Note also previous coverage from earlier today on CNet and ReadWriteWeb. The company's site, a great place to watch if you want to see when the app gets added, is at www.my6sense.com.