Manage Information Overload On Android With my6Sense

Today there are more sources for information than ever before, presenting a challenge of how to keep on top of it all. I recently learned about an Android app called my6Sense that attempts to help manage information overload. What makes my6Sense unique is that it identifies the information it thinks is most important to you and presents it at the top of the list of your content stream. For more information about what my6Sense is about, read an interview with its founder, Barak Hachamov, published last year here on Social Times.

When you first start my6Sense you are prompted to create a user id and password, and you end up at the app’s home screen, which is shown in the screenshot. Your next step is to configure your information content sources like Twitter, Facebook, and RSS feeds such as managed with Google Reader.

All of the information sources are pooled together by my6Sense’s servers and displays when you tap My Content. By default content headlines display by relevance, which is determined by what my6Sense calls “digital intuition.” The my6Sense web site doesn’t provide much detail about how it determines the relevance, but it must be tracking which articles you actually open and does some correlation of them because it doesn’t ask users to provide any feedback such as ranking articles. You can also display items by time, with the most recent items appearing at the top of the list.

The first twenty articles of your content stream display and when you reach the bottom of the list the app tries to load the next twenty. Unfortunately, every time I try the app it has difficulty retrieving the next twenty items. I tried the iPhone version of the app and it seemed to have the same problems, suggesting a problem with my6Sense’s back end servers at the time I am writing.

Another problem that I have with my6Sense is that it doesn’t provide a way to mark items that I see as being read. What that means is that each time you go into My Content there is a good chance you will see the same article headlines. After I scan headlines of articles in Google Reader, I mark them as read so that I don’t see them again, and I think this capability is fundamental to any app that aims to help manage information overload. After I see something I don’t want to see it again. If you use Google Reader like I do, be aware that my6Sense does not appear to sync what you read back to Google Reader, so not only can you see an item multiple times in my6Sense, you will also see it in Google Reader.

I like the idea of an app like my6Sense sorting my content streams by relevance, so I think my6Sense has promise. Clearly, one has to use the app over a period of time for my6Sense to gather enough information to determine what is most relevant. I do think my6Sense needs to add an easy way to mark items as being read beyond deleting each item from the content stream individually, and as a bonus, I would love it if it could communicate back to Google Reader to mark the items I have read there too.

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