Filtering is one of my hot topics in 2006. It's the next step from aggregation, because many of us now have too much information coming at us. Let's face it, even with your favourite blogs or websites, you don't want to read every single post or article that is published. You ideally want to filter every piece of information that comes at you, based on your niches and personal topics of interest. This is why I've been tracking the development of RSS filter products - and indeed trying (unsuccessfully) to develop one of my own.
FeedRinse is an interesting attempt, enabling you to "rinse" your feeds by keyword, author, tag. It also has a profanity filter. To get started, you sign up and import your OPML - or filter individual feeds. Where FeedRinse's model comes slightly unstuck is that you're required to export your filtered feeds, so you can add them into your RSS Reader. This seems like a step too much for me, as I'd prefer to do my filtering and reading from the same service.
I asked Aaron Mentele from FeedRinse about this. He replied:
"The current readers on the market are pretty early in development, and there are definitely some specific ways to improve them (we're addressing that). But, we're focusing on the big item first: allowing the end-user to determine what they want to receive. We see the core product as a pass-through service that will help regardless of device, reader, etc.
What we're focusing on right now is improving the filter options as well as allowing the user to create relevant content channels. These features will integrate directly with the filtering options (that's what the mysterious "Smart aRSS" feature is all about)."
OK, so I see the value in focusing on getting the filtering technology right first - before doing an integrated filter/reader product. I'll be keeping an eye on FeedRinse's progress. Also check out TDavid's review.
NB: there's a similar product just released called ZapTXT - which seems more like a search subscription service a la PubSub. ZapTXT "allows you to define search criteria for your RSS feeds and then notifies you via email, SMS or IM when a new entry contains your search keywords."