So Yahoo! Pipes is not new, but I just started playing with it after I saw a brief tutorial on how to use it on Lifehacker. Very cool. It provides a very simple, totally graphical, AJAXy way to filter your RSS feeds. From the initial announcements from Yahoo!, I had no idea that this is what it was for. While I had done similar things with other services, the Pipes graphical interface simplifies things a lot, and gives you a great visual way to see exactly what the end result will contain.
Anyway, following the tutorial, I was able to merge two RSS feeds (Digg‘s Technology feed and Techmeme) and then filter them out so that they don’t give me the same results from other feeds. Since I already subscribe to BoingBoing, Lifehacker, and Marc Andreesen‘s blog, for example, I added filters so that Digg and Techmeme and would not show me stories from these posts, making my Google Reader a lot less cluttered with duplicates.
The second tool I found is actually new: AideRSS. AideRSS ranks your favorite blog posts according to the amount of feedback they receive. The presumption is that the more feedback, the better a post is. The result is that you can use it to dramatically reduce the amount of “clutter” in your feeds. For example, Lifehacker averages 388 posts a month. AidRSS ranks 83% (325) of these as “good,” 55% (215) as “great,” and 14% (58) as “best.” So you can easily filter out a lot of chaff from a blog.
Unfortunately, the first feed I tried to give it was my custom Pipes feed. Given that Techmeme and Digg have different structures for their comments, this was too much for AideRSS to handle. Luckily I quickly figured it out and instead flipped it so that my AideRSS feeds now drive my Pipes. Another drawback is that it really only works on blogs. I can’t use it to cut down on the amount of noise on various mailing lists or forums that I receive in RSS format, which would be very nice. Perhaps they will work on that and offer this feature in the future.