MeeHive is a new service launching today that is looking to give users a custom-tailored newspaper composed of stories from sources spanning a vast number of blogs and news sites. The site leverages the power of Kosmix, a universal search engine that pulls data from a variety of sources to produce comprehensive topic pages.
Upon entering the site, new users are invited to enter some of their favorite topics, which range from mainstays like Sports and Technology to more specialized areas, like Stem Cells. Users can also specify certain companies or keywords to monitor. From there, MeeHive builds a digital newspaper, using content from a variety of sources including news sites like CNN as well as a wide selection of blogs (the system uses an authority algorithm to help weed out the best content). The Kosmix algorithm works well, pulling in relevant stories without any false matches (at least for common topics) and ensuring that the same story isn’t shown multiple times.
The layout of the site is well done, presenting a large amount of information without becoming overwhelming. Alongside the collection of stories which are broken up by subject, the site also shows the most recent Tweets regarding your favorite topics. Unfortunately, for the time being the layout of the page is also static, though a future update will allow users to rearrange their panels as they’d like. Aside from the web edition, users can opt to receive daily Email digests of their newspapers, and can view them on the site’s iPhone application.
All in all, MeeHive works pretty well, but will people use it? Personalized news sites aren’t new – it’s an idea that has been tried many times, and haven’t typically fared well. But unlike some of those efforts, MeeHive also incorporates a social element to the site, allowing users to share the items they liked with friends, which could help surface stories more interesting to you better than any algorithm could. That said, the site is going to face lots of competition from numerous RSS aggregators, ‘memetrackers’, and similar personalized news hubs.