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Topix Gets Better

By - August 02, 2004

Rich emails me to say that his baby Topix has gotten even better. Gary has a review of it here. New features from his mail are listed in the “continue reading” link…

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- Site redesign and a redesigned homepage.

– New homepage story picking algorithm. Replacing the previous
“section samples” homepage is a blended rollup of all the major
stories occurring within the past 24 hours.

This is using our new algorithmic story editing technology.
It attempts to determine the accurate time of the story, as opposed
to how recently the story appears on the web and was fetched by our
crawler (addressing the Google News phenomenon where a day-old story
appears on the homepage with “8 minutes ago” as the timestamp).

We’re also using a set of semantic category filters to bias the
news selection. The stories chosen are major or interesting
stories as determined by our algorithmic editing process.

Our goal was to create a compelling news front page with
differentiation from the other news aggregators and online news
sites. Rather than simply averaging together the top stories from
the top 10 news outlets, Topix.net is applying a set of editorial
rules to guide the story selection process. From our feedback so
far, the new site is more compelling, relevant (and addictive). :-)

– Flyout navigation on the upper left tracks recent Topix.net
pages that you’ve visited.

– Full Coverage sections under major stories. Big stories with
multiple unique articles now have a “Full Coverage” link beneath
them. This lets users view multiple articles about the same story.

– Email alerts are available for every one of topix.net’s 150,000
topic categories.

– Live Feed on the front page. These are raw headlines coming off
of our news crawler. No categorization or ranking has been applied,
other than profanity and automated QA filtering.

– New search interface. RSS feeds are also now available on the
search results page, so you can get a feed of your favorite search.

– Press Release coverage: A Press Releases have been added to the
business industry and company coverage pages (in the lower right).
Press releases are crawled by our system, categorized, and appear
in a separate column with industry or company news.

- Additional sources in our crawl: now over 7,000.

- All of Topix.net’s 150k RSS feeds have been upgraded to RSS 2.0.
(Backward compatibility is available for sites that need the former
1.0 feed).

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One thought on “Topix Gets Better

  1. Greg Linden, of Findory.com, also nicely contrasts Findory’s algorithms with Topix’s NewsRank