Filtering News By Keyword

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 29, 2008
Updated • Dec 13, 2012

Having subscriptions to hundreds of RSS news feeds can sometimes mean news overkill. This is especially true for times when a big new application or service gets announced because these usually get picked up by more than 20% of all the tech sites out there. News Filtering - or keyword filtering - describes the process of monitoring selected news sources and becoming active when a keyword was discovered. The action can be positive or negative depending on the configuration done by the user.

One prime example where keyword filtering can be useful is a website that several authors write for. If you are only interested in one author you could use the author's name as the keyword so that only the author's stories land in your RSS reader. has been mentioned on nearly every tech blog out there in the past weeks. It is basically a keyword filtering service that monitors RSS news feeds and informs the user of posts that match the selected keywords.

It is a bit different from services like Yahoo Pipes because it can send those notifications only to an email client, cell phone or instant messenger. The process can be divided into the following steps:

  • Configuring a destination (cell phone, email, instant messenger)
  • Adding a source
  • Configuring keyword filters

It is not really complicated but the user needs to know about RSS feeds. The keyword filter can be set to either include or exclude posts that match keywords. Setting up no keyword filters sends all new items to the selected destination. An include keyword filter will only send the items containing the keyword while an exclude keyword will send all except those that are excluded.

The keyword filtering is still a bit rudimentary. There is no option to filter parameters like title, tags or authors which is definitely a much needed option.

Another thing that is missing is the ability to configure multiple destinations of the same type. Only one account of each type can be configured. This basically means that it is not possible to setup multiple email addresses in one account.

I cannot really see the need for such a service right now. What's your take on this?


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  1. Rarst has cool feed said on November 29, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Filters work when nature of content remains constant. I think it’s impossible to accurately construct set of filters that will not miss anything interesting and will cut off fluff at the same time.

    Some filters like PostRank try to determine post popularity by social indicators but it’s not a guarantee either.

    I’ll end up looking through all of my feeds anyway so I am not using filtering actively, I only have few filters set up to quickly spot important stuff like references to my blog. :)

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