Feedhaus Launches Public Alpha to Deliver Real-time Personalized News, Images and Video

Feedhaus announced today that it has released its social news site into public alpha to deliver real-time news, images and videos that are personally relevant.

Leveraging the power of news feeds and the flexibility of user-generated tags, Feedhaus offers a unique, real-time view of today’s hottest digital media including personalized online news items, images and videos. It gives people the ability to tag and follow their favorite RSS or ATOM feeds from news sites or blogs in real-time so that they can be the first to know about breaking news.

Feedhaus is a powerful new real-time social media website that aggregates content from thousands of user-submitted feeds and tags, offering a never-before-seen mashup of social feed aggregation, user-generated tagging, social networking and rich personalization. Following an extensive private alpha, Feedhaus is now available to the general public, providing for the first time a place to filter out and discover “what’s hot now” across thousands of content sources and topics of general or personal interest.

“Until now, I couldn’t find a good way to keep up with the wealth of news, blogs and other content sources on the internet,” said Chris Bucchere, founder, President and CEO at Feedhaus. “Feedhaus gives you the power to tag feed-based content and design your own ‘My Feedhaus’ pages that deliver specific, personalized news, images and videos to you exactly the way you want them, in real-time.”

Invented and developed by a team of enterprise software veterans with deep internet and intranet portal experience, Feedhaus is led by CEO, President and founder Chris Bucchere, formerly Lead Engineer at Plumtree Software, the market-leading enterprise portal software company that was acquired by BEA Systems (NASDAQ: BEAS) in 2005.

Privately held and personally funded, Feedhaus was built by a small team of developers in a matter of months using open source Java technologies such as Rome, Lucene and Apache Tomcat along with advanced Javascript libraries to enable real-time publishing of news, images and video via an Ajax-like technology called Comet.

“Ajax has its place in the industry and we use it throughout the site,” says Feedhaus developer Andrew Bays. “However, Comet allows developers to provide real-time updates to tags and detail pages without any user intervention, providing a whole new twist to our Rich Internet Application (RIA).”

This real-time updating technology, which Feedhaus has dubbed “ActiveCloud (TM),” shows tags pulsating and growing in size when they’re active and shaking and shrinking when activity slows down, giving readers perspective on what topics are currently newsworthy along with a “top story” news ticker to show current breaking news updates. Feedhaus also captures a daily news snapshot, allowing readers to drag a slider bar backwards in time and find out what made the news yesterday, last week, last month or beyond.

Feedhaus also provides a rich set of tools to allow you to click and drag tags to create your own personalized feed-driven news site. Known as “My Feedhaus,” this part of the site gives readers the ability to target and follow only the topics in which they are interested.

Feedhaus already offers integration with the popular social networking site Facebook, allowing Feedhaus readers who are also Facebook users to share tag clouds on their Facebook profiles. More social networking features, including the ability to track view and track other people’s public ActiveCloud (TM) tag clouds, are being planned for an upcoming release.

About Feedhaus

Feedhaus is a privately-held company dedicated to providing real-time, personalized content from a wide variety of feeds, tagged and filtered down to only “what’s hot now” for a set of personalized topics. Feedhaus users engage in an intuitive experience of submitting and tagging feeds and narrowing their interests to only those topics that reflect their passions. Be the first to know at http://www.feedhaus.com or send an email to [email protected] for more information.

Feedhaus is a trademark of bdg, llc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are property of their respective holders.

Make feedhaus Your Own

The feedhaus team here at bdg is very pleased to announce that we’ve added personalization to feedhaus!

The new section of the site — called “my feedhaus” — gives you the ability to organize the news as you see fit. Choose from the hundreds of tags available to create as many of your own “mini” tag clouds as you like and then drag and drop them to organize the page the way you like it.

Like the main tag cloud, your personal tag clouds are also “live” so that as the news changes, you’ll always be the first to know.

feedhaus Now Supported by Ads

You may notice that the detail pages are now ad-supported. I would have implemented this weeks ago, but Google was very slow to approve our AdSense account.

We’re not trying to make a killing here — in fact our first goal is just to cover the cost of hosting. . . .

We also implemented Google Analytics so we can track site usage.

Right now the ads aren’t targeting themselves correctly — apparently that takes 48 hours to kick in, so stay tuned.

feedhaus Now on New Hardware

In response to some complaints from my hosting company and registrar that we were using too much CPU and bandwidth, I’ve moved feedhaus from a virtual dedicated server to a dedicated server.

I think Lucene was the culprit — as FUD was indexing feeds’ articles, Lucene was consuming WAY too much CPU. Anyway, after a 24 FUDless hours, FUD is happily chugging away to bring you new stories from the 70+ feeds we now have in feedhaus.

I’m very happy to say that I was able to move feedhaus and FUD over to the new hardware with only 30 minutes of web site downtime. W00t!

This incident led me to thinking a bit about scaling feedhaus. My fears about the scalability of cometd/long-polling are probably unwarranted. What I should really worry about is FUD. I think ultimately FUD needs to be separated out from the web server machines so that it doesn’t interfere with web site performance. Furthermore, I think the feed table should probably be broken into segments and there should be a new FUD process instantiated for every 100 (or so) feeds.

I guess FUD and I will cross that bridge when we get to it . . . but for now, performance is snappy as ever AND you’re getting your news in near-realtime. Enjoy!

More on the New feedhaus Features

Nearly every new user who gets on feedhaus has the same question: can I narrow the tag cloud down to only the topics/tags that I care about? My answer is no, not yet, but soon! How soon this happens is anyone’s guess, but let me update you on the progress of our newest features:

1. Search

This feature made the top of our list because you really can’t have personalization or profiling without first opening up access to all the tags in feedhaus. (In case you haven’t already noticed, only the top 100 are showing on the home page.) We’re designing search so that you can easily find feeds, articles (current or past), tags and users. The search is powered by a great, turnkey opensource search engine called Lucene.

2. Personalization

This has been the most requested feature to date. And it’ll be here . . . soon! You’ll be able to create as many personal tag clouds as you want and drag the tags you want to watch into each tag cloud. You’ll be able to name these personalized tag clouds and share them with your friends, essentially allowing you to design your own constantly up-to-date news site.

3. User Profiling and Social Networking

The user profile feature will allow you to see what other people are tagging and what feeds they’re adding (if they choose to share). You can also browse other people’s tag clouds and copy them, adding your own tags or removing those you don’t care about. If you like another person’s “taste” in the news, you can add them as a friend. Lastly, we all love a competition, so we’re adding a “top contributor” page and showing each person’s rank, which will be calculated based on how many feeds he or she has added.

Be on the lookout for these new features and, as always, leave your comments here or drop us a line at [email protected].

feedhaus Alpha 2 is Live

We made a few notable changes, including revamping the “add a feed” page by adding clearer feedback and better instructions. We also made the feed adding, indexing and aggregating a lot more robust by fixing some bugs deep within the feed processing engine.

We’re trying our best to emphasize that this is a social news site, so we added the orange button (on the right) to encourage people to add their own content.

Coming in the next alpha build: the much anticipated search feature, along with perhaps some personalization and/or user profiling bits. More about these new features to come….

feedhaus Public Alpha Begins . . . Now!

feedhaus_public_alphaWe’ve put the “Alpha 1” build up and removed the password protection, which marks the beginning of the feedhaus public alpha!

In this build, we’ve repaired a lot of the IE problems (although there are still a few sneaky issues) and revamped the forms along with other parts of the UI. The “add a feed” page is much more robust now — if you enter a web site URL instead of a feed URL, it will actually search the page for one or more feed URL(s) and pre-populate the form for you. (Thanks Andrew for implementing this great feature.)

We’ve also changed our slogan from “What’s Hot Now” to “Be the First to Know.”

One known issues is that the history slider is still a little wonky and it will be for several days (until enough snapshots exist for it to scroll smoothly). This problem will be with us for about a week or so and then it will work itself out. Think of it as feedhaus’ “growing pains.”

So, have at it, folks!

And please report problems and suggestions by commenting on this blog or sending an e-mail to [email protected].