Zemanta, the blogging tool which harnesses semantic technology to add relevant content to your posts, has just released a major upgrade to their service. This new release allows you specify the sources you want to see in the suggestions list that Zemanta provides. You can now incorporate your own social networks, RSS feeds, and photos from your Flickr account into your blog posts. This makes Zemanta a lot more appealing to established bloggers who are in less need of suggestions and more in need of automation.
In the past, Zemanta suggested articles from a few hundred or so "top media sources" in addition to the blogs of other Zemanta users. It also pulled publicly shared images from Wikimedia Commons, Flickr, and stock photo providers like Shutterstock and Fotolia. While this behavior made Zemanta useful to bloggers who were just looking to add relevant content to their posts, established bloggers did not have as much use for it.
That's because the challenge for established bloggers isn't knowing where to link or what content to add, it's the tedious process involved in having to do so. What these bloggers needed was a more personal recommendation system...one that would suggest articles and images that actually meant something to them. Now that's exactly what Zemanta delivers thanks to the addition of four new features: My Friends, My Feeds, My Pictures, and Filtering.
New Features in Zemanta
In the new version, bloggers can connect Zemanta with their social networks. At launch time, those networks include Twitter, Facebook, and MyBlogLog, but more may be added in the future. This feature lets you automatically insert links to your friends' social network profiles when you write about them in your blog post.
In order to provide you with more relevant content to link to, Zemanta's new version lets you import feeds from your feed reader as opposed to just simply suggesting "popular" content from top blogs. This way, you can link to your friends and to the other blogs you read instead of just to those sites that have the most "authority." You can add feeds one-by-one by entering either the feed link or blog URL or you can import an entire OPML file.
My Pictures & Filtering
With My Pictures, Zemanta can connect to your own Flickr account to give you instant access to your own photos. This can be combined with the new filtering feature to help you locate the images or other content you need. For example, if you had just attended the DEMO conference, you could enter the keyword "demo" in the box provided to retrieve photos from that event.
You can see the new features in action in the video below:
Zemanta works via a browser add-on (IE or Firefox), a server-side plugin (WordPress, MT, or Drupal), or as a plug-in for Windows Live Writer. It supports all major blogging platforms including WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, LiveJournal, Movable Type, Tumblr, Drupal, Ning, and MySpace.
Although we had liked Zemanta in concept, this latest upgrade makes it far more useful as it incorporates the things that matter the most to you: your friends, your photos, your feeds. We expect to now see Zemanta used much more heavily by everyday bloggers who are looking to save time and add more specific content to posts.