Filtrbox, one of the Techstars companies from 2007 which provides a time-saving cure for information overload, has left private beta behind and is now available to everyone. Early feedback seems quite positive both from individuals and from sources such as Network World, which called the user interface “so good it should immediately be given an award.”
Filtrbox monitors both traditional and new media content sources based on “filtrs” which you define. These are simply definitions of keywords and concepts that you want to track any time they’re mentioned. Users can consume the result content via RSS, email, and/or in the beautiful new Filtrbox dashboard. One thing I love about Filtrbox is that it doesn’t try to change your content consumption habits. This makes it easy to integrate the results into my normal tools. In my case, I like to receive some of my most critical Filtrs with results that have a high FiltrRank (their unique scoring algorithm) in my email inbox each morning. I consume the rest via RSS and occasionally check the dashboard to look at trends, sources, and other detailed analytics.
I’ve heard Filtrbox described as “Google alerts on steroids.” It’s not a bad description.
I’ve been using Filtrbox for about 9 months now as part of the private beta. Man, has it evolved nicely – it’s now a tool that many of us have come to depend upon daily. Fundamentally, Filtrbox has changed the way I think about and consume content. I now think about “blogs” as something I catch up on once or twice a week and Filtrbox as my source of time sensitive news regardless of source. Subsequently, Filtrbox is now part of my daily system and my blog subscriptions are something I find myself looking at more occasionally.
Filtrbox feeds can be created and consumed in a highly distributed way as well. For example, Filtrbox is powering vips.alltop.com, which is a unique page on Alltop that is based on persistent search. I’ve also used Filtrbox in combination with Newsgator to power the Techstars news page, so that mentions of our companies or mentors are automatically picked up.
You can hear Ari Newman (founder and CEO) discussing the service on Mashable. There’s also a good review there.
Individuals who want to monitor up to 5 filtrs can use Filtrbox for free. Pro accounts are $20/month and include up to 25 filtrs and more history. Team accounts are $100/month and allow teams of users to define, manage, and share common filtrs.
Filtrbox has some great screencasts if you want to learn more about some of the key features of the service. But if you just need the latest and most relevant news in a timely and flexible fashion, go ahead and give Filtrbox a try and let us know what you think in the comments.