Though I continue to remain active on Facebook and Twitter, my current love is FriendFeed – a great service developed by some ex-Googlers who were earlier part of the Google Maps and Gmail team at Google.
We generally use FriendFeed for tracking the online activities of our friends – the blogs they are writing, the photos they upload to Flickr, the books they review at Amazon, the web pages they save onto delicious, and so on.
But FriendFeed is more than just a tool for spying on your friends’ web activity – here are some uncommon but very interesting uses of FriendFeed:
1. Create ‘River of News’ from Your Favorite Blogs
With FriendFeed, you can easily create a River Of News using feeds of your most favorite blogs. Go to “Friend Settings” -> “Imaginary” and Create an imaginary friend.
Give it a name (like “River of News”) and attach the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs to this new friend. You can subscribe to this river in any news reader or read it online – see example. Wondering why you need a news river ? Consult Dave.
2. Track Your Favorite Topics (like Google Alerts)
Marshall Kirkpatrick earlier explained how Twitter helped him pay the rent as he could gain access to breaking news much faster and then blog about it.
With FriendFeed, it gets even better. Go to their Advanced Search page, type a search phrase (“google acquires” ?) and choose “shared by everyone.”
You can further limit this search to blog entries, twitter tweets, etc. Subscribe to the search result page in your RSS reader and let FriendFeed hunt the breaking news for you.
Related: Google Alerts Tutorial
3. Find People Who Enjoy Reading Your Content
After you login to FriendFeed, go to the stats page and here you will a list of people who secretly admire your blog and other content that you have put online.
They are listed because they actively sharing your blog content with their friends or they comment on the entries you have made on FriendFeed.
4. Subscribe to Interesting Discussions
Every item on FriendFeed is like a blog post – it has its own permalink and your FriendFeed contacts can add comments just like they would do on a blog.
For example, this tweet (scobleizer) generated dozens of comments on his FriendFeed page. If you want to track this discussion in your feed reader with having to check FriendFeed several times, click the “More” link followed by “Link to this entry.”
This is the permalink for that discussion. Click the permalink and there you will find a RSS feed for that discussion. Subscribe.
5. Get Productive – Skip the Links That You Have Read Already
If you have lot of friends on FriendFeed and each of them share the same links over and over again, your feed gets boring.
Firefox users who also have Greasemonkey can use this hack from engtech to hide all links from the feed that you already visited in the browser. For some more FriendFeed hacks with Greasemonkey, check out ffapps.com.
6. Take Your FriendFeed With You
You can add FriendFeed application to your Facebook Page or the iGoogle homepage. If you have a blog, embed your FriendFeed feed as widget in the sidebar. Or if you don’t mind getting an extra email, FriendFeed can send a neat snapshot daily to your inbox.
Know of any FriendFeed trick? Please add in the comments.