Yotify: Baby Steps Towards Software Agents

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Yotify - My Scouts - Mozilla Firefox (Build 2008070206)The promise of intelligent software agents has been floating around for a long time. Yotify is the latest to try to deliver on this promise. The idea is fairly simple: you tell Yotify what you’re interested in, and it scours the web and sends you daily updates. For example, you could tell Yotify to instantiate a “scout” that follows Craigslist job postings on your behalf, or one that updates you on the latest search results for a particular term. Results are delivered by email or through the Yotify interface. There are also some social features – you can invite friends and share scouts, or make them public.

Though the idea is sound, I find myself wanting scouts with more smarts than the ones they’ve supplied so far. For example, on the Craigslist scout I’d love to be able to do a search of ALL the Craigslist sites for Rails telecommuting jobs – something you can’t easily do in the Craigslist UI. But the scout requires you to pick a particular city to watch. The search results doesn’t seem to offer any advantage over subscribing to a Google search RSS feed. So, I have to mark this one as “promising”, but I don’t think they’ve delivered yet. The service is in closed beta, but it didn’t take me long to get an invitation after requesting one.

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Hey Mike, there is a way to follow craigslist job postings across multiple locations with search terms. Go to crazedlist.org (you’ll need to turn off http referrer) Enter your search terms, categories and select the locations. You can then select to get the OPML for the RSS fieds. I imported those into google reader and easily follow the posting I’m interested in. sorry yotify.

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