13th Feb 2010 | 10:00
Let Topikality hunt for your interests online
The internet-led world of today is such an information-filled place that it’s easy to get swamped. Shouldn’t there be an easy way to cut through all the dross? A content-finding tool that you can train to locate exactly what you’re interested in and nothing else? If you’re thinking “yes!” then Topikality is for you, promising to let you, “learn the latest, without wading through the clutter.”
It’s simple to use. Just enter a phrase such as ‘Core i5’ into the ‘Find articles with this exact word and phrase’ field and the site will instantly create a ‘topik’ (shudder) for it and start returning content featuring that phrase. These results can then be viewed on the site, or you can have them delivered to you as a daily digest via email.
So why not just use Google Alerts? Topikality’s advantage is that you can filter the results by telling the program to avoid articles containing certain words. For example, if you’re looking to see if a particular product is any good, you can ask Topikality to avoid words such as ‘sale’ or ‘discount’ and just get the reviews.
Refining the results
However, Topikality is unique because it learns. You can train it to bring you exactly what you want by rating the content it’s chosen. The site also lets you email or tweet any favoured content to friends with the click of an icon.
The downside is that when you click on a link in the email, you’re taken via the Topikality site rather than directly to the source, and this means entering your username and password each time. There are also some gaps in its knowledge, as we discovered when the topik ‘PC Plus’ returned no results.
As it’s still in beta we’ll forgive that indiscretion, especially because when we contacted Topikality’s co-creator, Philip Scott, he was keen to explain that news sources are still slowly being added from all over the web, and this would continue until the tool is the finished product.
Topikality could revolutionise the way you search the web, but be careful: if you aren’t willing to put in the time to train it, the tool could end up adding to your clutter rather than subtracting from it.
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