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February 07, 2010

Cascaad Taps Social Graph for Tailored News

In the world of custom news applications that look to provide you personalized content, there are a growing number of contenders using different methods to filter the "best" from the "rest". Some, like Techmeme, utilize editorial directive in picking the top stories to present. Others, such as Tweetmeme and Digg, use popularity as that method. my6sense watches your own activity and customizes it for you. Meehive, Regator and others show content based on topics you have selected. Cascaad, a new entrant, takes a different approach, leveraging your personal social graph, suggesting to you the stories your friends have found valuable. It also shows you news by category, both on your iPhone and on their Web site.

Like many other social applications, Cascaad asks you to connect using Twitter OAuth or Facebook Connect. Cascaad then pulls in recent links shared by friends, and aims to find popular items that are gaining conversation (tracked by Twitter replies, for instance), or groups them by keyword.


One Popular Cascaad Item and Related Conversation


Items flow in from the top, like a cascading waterfall, similar to Lazyfeed's new approach, and leading to Cascaad's name. You can click any item and make a response, or "like" the item with a simple thumbs up. You can also share the messages by e-mail or on Twitter and Facebook.


Cascaad Channels and News In Focus


Cascaad's power, aside from bringing shared links from friends, is in the channels section, coming preinstalled with a number of topical channels, while also letting you create your own. Cascaad bundles channels from top topics like News, Business, Tech, Sports and Entertainment. With the addition of a few keywords, such as "Apple iPad" or "Super Bowl", you can make your own personalized channel that taps your social streams to show you related links, and who originated those links. You can also search the real time stream and show shared links on Cascaad.


Cascaad Custom Channels and Search


Cascaad says you can train the application to improve filters, based on those items you like, much as my6sense's digital intuition creates a tailored stream. Thus far, I haven't seen a dramatic personalization from the product, as I did with my6sense, but it may come with more use. Cascaad's benefits largely lie in the ability to see conversations from Twitter, connecting initial links with nested replies, and in being able to filter the real-time conversations by topic.

You can try Cascaad on the Web at http://cascaad.com/, or on the iPhone by downloading free from the iTunes store. I have also embedded a video from Robert Scoble interviewing Cascaad founder Erik Lumer below:


Disclosures: my6sense is a client of Paladin Advisors Group, where I am Managing Editor of New Media. In addition, I have previously done work for Kosmix.com, creator of MeeHive. My comments on the companies' products are always independent, and do not pass their way in advance.