When you spend a considerable time using the internet, you might find that it’s increasingly more difficult to find what interests you the most while searching on your own. You can certainly seek out content through search engines, forums, and the like, but most of us now look to social networks to provide our daily fix with streams of news, images, videos, and other entertainment content.
While there’s something to be said about seeking out the best of the web that appeals to you, more often than not we now turn to our friends – be they close friends we know in real life, or like-minded individuals worldwide that share our tastes. You might receive a retweeted link to a video via Twitter, a shared post on someone’s Facebook wall, an IM message with a link to a funny news story, or perhaps an email forward from your grandmother. These pieces of shared content are vetted by your friends and family, and that’s ultimately why they have a higher chance of meaning something to you when they’ve deemed it to be something you might find interesting.
So now that great recommended content streams in from our friends, how do we divert the waters of information about the best of the web down into a single, digestible form that is both aesthetically pleasing and efficient? We’re used to venturing out to all of these various networks and locations to find content, but what if we can bring it all to us instead? Enter Redux, a self-branded “new way to watch the web”, which uses “friendsourcing” to tap into what your friends are finding interesting and delivering it to you in a whole new way.
The simplest way to describe what Redux is doing is to think of it as a mix of social news websites like Digg and Reddit, with a mix of Twitter content visualization services like Brizzly and the upcoming Twazzup beta.
Redux hooks into your social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, and pulls out the content shared within them – in real-time. You’ll see at a glance the best of the web – the links, videos, images, and stories from the people on these services that you’re friends with – in a single stream of content. You can also filter the content to just provide videos, links, or images alone, or narrow down to just one of your social networks.
The way in which it’s similar to social news is by way of Redux’s use of “props” and commenting to bump content to the top of your stream. As Redux’s users interact with the content, it deems it to be “fresher” and thus more interesting, popular, and deserving of your attention. There’s also a notion of “Channels” which allows you to focus in on particular topics that have user-moderated content streams which stick to the types of media that piques your interest the most.
One of the most creative ways Redux repackages this new funneled content is by use of a “TV mode” which shows a fullscreen display of your content stream with all of its associated comments and props from your friends and the rest of the Redux community. As you watch, you can easily provide your own comments, props, or share the content quickly to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or copy/paste a link to send along to other friends outside of Redux.
The proliferation of real-time media consumption is prodding developers to come up with elegant solutions to bring relevant content to consumers in a way that’s seamless and engaging. Redux is a great step towards achieving this goal, and provides one of the better ways to bring the best of the web to you, rather than the other way around.
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What do you use to find the best of the web? Do you rely on RSS, aggregators like FriendFeed or Cliqset, or new services like Lunch or Simler? Let us know with your comments below and tell us how you find the best content!