Call it information overload or our appetite for grabbing news when and where it happens, it is true that loads of apps are riding the gravy train of information. Whether they contribute to that overload or help us deal with it is open for debate. What’s true is that they make discovering news and interesting content a fun job.
Trapit (Beta) is a well-designed, free to use web application you can add to your list if you like your online news to be served straight up front. Trapit says that we don’t have an unlimited attention span or the time to go scouring the web for news of interest. That’s why it uses an automatic algorithm that gets the news to us on our favorite topics for easy consumption. At its most basic, Trapit is a content aggregator and a news curation tool.
With all apps of this kind, it ultimately boils down to timeliness of the news, the sources that the news curation engine taps into, and the user-friendliness of the app.
Let’s see how Trapit does it:
‘Trap’ the News
Trapit taps into nearly 50,000 news sources. Trapit then scours the web on your behalf, 24/7, organizing the best, most relevant content into individual topic-based “traps” for easy consumption. Traps can be based on current affairs or trending topics, personal interests or projects, companies or people, teams, towns, events and more.
Trapit prioritizes the news for you and also uses ‘intelligence’ to gradually learn the kind of news you like. Ultimately, you get news that is ‘personalized’ to your likes and tastes.
Setting the ‘Trap’
After signing up with Twitter, Facebook, or email, Trapit takes you through the first few steps of setting up the ‘traps’. Featured Traps are arranged in categories. Pick through them and choose the ones you like. Add them to My Traps (your own set).
All featured Traps which you selected go into your page. You will instantly see the Activity feed that’s bringing in the news even as you go about looking for fresh news sources.
You can create your own traps by giving Trapit keywords, combination of keywords, or links to specific websites. If you are satisfied with the results, you can save it as a ‘Trap’. You can always go back and edit it. Create categories for your traps by selecting the plus button next to, “all your traps” and give your category a name.
You can arrange the individual news items by Most Recent or Most Relevant. You don’t have to read them all…you can in fact, save them for reading later.
All your traps can be found bunched together neatly under My Traps. As you begin reading, rating, and sharing articles, Trapit starts to learn about your preferences and it ‘personalizes’ its intelligence gathering mechanism to reflect your likes. You will see the effect in the orange bar that changes to show your level of personalization on the site. As it learns more, Trapit pulls in more content aligned to your reading tastes.
Go into the Trapit blog to discover interesting content like the Trap of The Day. It is a beta application but one with lots of promise. I am trying it out for the last few days, as so far it is pulling in the right kind of content with a few misses here and there. But I am sure as it learns more, it will only get better. Try out Trapit and spread the word if you like it.