We’ve covered the RSS ranking service AideRSS a couple of times before – in a nutshell, they analyze the activity surrounding an RSS feed to help you identify the most talked-about items, on the theory that those are the ones you should pay attention to first if you’ve got limited time. They’ve gotten some traction through their integration with services like NewsGator and Trawlr.
Now the AideRSS folks have taken another major step: they’ve opened up their core PostRank technology for anyone to use. As part of this effort they offer more details on PostRank than before. You still can’t see the exact formula behind the calculation, but they explain the forms of engagement they watch for: creating, critiquing, chatting, collecting, and clicking.
If you want to see PostRank in action, you can visit the AideRSS site – but even easier for many web workers, you can install their Google Reader integration. Available as either a Firefox extension or a Greasemonkey script, the integration allows you to see the comparative PostRank for pretty much anything in Google Reader, and filter things down so you’re only seeing the most-important stories. The new version of the extension works on folders or all items view, a welcome addition to feed-only PostRank.
And that gets us back to the API. In the just-launched API, you can calculate “Thematic PostRank” – the rankings of any set of URLs, not just the items from a single feed. This should make for much more interesting mashups, since it means developers can apply PostRank to anything. In particular, I’m wondering about the possibilities of combining the Thematic PostRank API with Yahoo’s recently-announced BOSS search API. Between the two, it should be possible to find useful information on the web faster than ever – which, after all, is part of what we web workers do.