BlogRovr is an interesting new way of getting blog information, on the go while you're surfing the Web. It is a download plugin for Firefox 2.0, which works cross-platform on Windows, Mac and Linux. There's no IE plugin for now, but support for IE6 and IE7 is coming soon (a couple of weeks away). BlogRovr is basically a personalized vertical search engine for every page you visit - processed in real-time. How it works is that once you've downloaded BlogRovr, when you surf the Web BlogRovr is busy working in the background 'fetching' related blog stories for you. Keeping with the canine theme, the BlogRovr blog says that BlogRovr is "your best friend for keeping your finger on the pulse of the blogosphere."
BlogRovr is the latest product from Activeweave, the company behind online social annotation app Stickis. In fact BlogRovr uses the same backend technology as Stickis. The main use case for BlogRovr is for people to see what their favorite bloggers have to say about anything they're browsing. In their blog, CEO Marc Meyer explains that BlogRovr is complementary to RSS Readers, because "RovR tells you about content from your blogs when and where youÄôre most likely to be interested in it."
I downloaded BlogRovr as a Firefox plugin on a Windows machine. It starts off by giving you pre-selected bundles of blogs to choose from, in various categories. I chose the "Science and Technology" bundle, of which Read/WriteWeb is featured. You can add new blogs to your bundles, individually or as a group via OPML - for example I added the Web 2.0 Workgroup OPML file to my BlogRovr page. The software will also offer to fetch blogs youÄôve recently visited and, once you have it installed, you can add blogs via the Rovr toolbar menu.
OK, so you have a set of feeds - then what does BlogRovr do exactly? Basically the software 'sits' at the bottom of your sidebar (see bottom-right of the screenshot above). To your left you will see a larger version of BlogRovr in sit mode.
Then when you browse to a web page and click BlogRovr, it will display - in a roll-out tray - relevant pages from your bundle of chosen bloggers. For example my post on Yahoo Mail API had two relevant articles, one by Alex Barnett - which when clicked popped up as a preview. BlogRovr also provides tags to show the topics.
BlogRovr is another way to find niche content that is relevant to you, so in that respect it's similar to 'memetrackers' like Techmeme or vertical search engines. BlogRovr is a unique way of giving you related content, one I haven't come across before. Check it out and let us know what you think.
Disclosure: BlogRovr became a R/WW sponsor in April 2007.