Thursday, 17th November 2011
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Having attended Scott Brown’s excellent SLA-sponsored presentation on social tools this week, which by the way, has inspired me to refresh my portfolio of search tools – visit his site for more information here – my research radar was tuned to finding other social sites that could be useful to information professionals.
So, I was interested to read on editorsweblog about a new personalised content aggregator called Trapit. Described as Siri’s sister – Siri being iPhone’s intelligent personal assistant feature – Trapit was designed by the same technology stable.
Recently launched in public beta, Trapit is billed as a novel way of finding news. In fact it is more of a discovery tool than a search engine. Rather than searching for information, users are encouraged to let the service find news items for them. Inputting a keyword results in a full range of web content, including articles, videos and photos, related to the keyword, all displayed in visually attractive panels on one page.
Users can refine content by indicating if they like it or not and save it to a “trap”. The more you refine your preferences, the more accurate Trapit becomes. Trapit automatically updates these saved files with new content as it is published. As venturebeat points out, searchers are essentially training the service to produce and understand the type of content they want.
The service currently scans 50,000 original content sources going back one month. Trapit’s founders claim that the service is "revolutionizing the way people will access content on the web”, however many researchers will find similarities with that other well-established discovery aggregator, Stumbleupon. The main difference between the two that I could see at first glance is that Trapit displays results in a more convenient way in content panels.
Will Trapit take off? As PC Magazine points out, it is unlikely to become a threat to Google, however it provides searchers with a novel way of displaying personalised content and a good example of how the web is beginning to follow us.
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