released an interesting new tool that allows users to filter articles from the newspaper's website by tags and keywords and turn them into custom feeds. While developers could already build similar tools on top of the paper's Article Search API and TimesTags API, the new Custom Times Feeds give everybody the ability to create persistent searches based on their personal preferences.The New York Times just
One neat feature of the application is that users can't just search by keyword but can also copy-and-paste the URL of any New York Times article into the search field. The software will then automatically suggest new search terms based on the tags the New York Times editors added to this post (and which are normally hidden).
Interesting, But Intentionally Limited
Sadly, though, the tool is also still somewhat limited. It doesn't for example, support Boolean operators (AND, OR, etc.) in queries. Adding additional search terms simply restricts searches to articles where both terms appear. There is no option to turn this around and make the query an 'or' search. All of this wouldn't be a problem if the app allowed users to then combine different feeds, but this isn't an option - though you could obviously use Yahoo Pipes or a similar product to combine these feeds yourself.
According to the Times, these limitations are intentional and meant to "keep the application simple and approachable."
If you are only interested in receiving updates about a very limited set of topics, then setting up a tab in Netvibes or iGoogle for a number of custom feeds is definitely an interesting proposition. On the other hand, you could also get similar and more customizable alerts from a wider range of publications through Google Alerts (though Google won't help you to find appropriate keywords) or a real-time service like Lazyfeed.
The NYTimes is a syndication partner of ReadWriteWeb.