Friday, December 10, 2010

Service-based URL shorteners

Generic URL-shortening services like and, should be made service-specific (, to avoid malware site redirects.

It would work like this. Hypothetical image-based URL shortener would check to make sure the site pointed to met any of the following qualifiers:
  -- Content of URL is a recognised image format. Require proper mime-type and image headers.
  -- Content of URL is a recognised image service provider, e.g. Facebook photo, Flickr photo etc

This would prevent people doing something like the following:
"Hey check out this awesome photo of a rabbit SCUBA diving"

which actually redirects you to something else entirely, like a shopping website, or worse something seedy, a malware site, or actual criminal content.

A similar hypothetical tube-based URL shortener, would do the same thing, but check the content was hosted on YouTube, or a variety of other family-friendly video hosting sites.

That way, you still get URL shortened goodness, but also content safety. 

That's all!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Idea: Crowdcasting News

Okay, here's how I want to my get my news now. Think of it as like Digg meets the social graph.

I have some kind of trust network of friends. A vanilla graph would do, but let's face it, I value news from some sources more than other. Anyone who stumbles on some news (or generates some) might tweet it at the moment, or Facebook it. I want them to amplify it instead.

There is a database somewhere that tracks all the amplification clicks it gets against URLs, say keeping track of 2-3 days information. It then extracts those clicks which originated from my trust network, then weights all the URLs according to number of clicks. If a URL meets threshold, I get it as news. In fact, what I specify is my desired number of news items per day, and the threshold adapts.

If I had that, I would completely replace newspapers. I would have an aggregated news feed and an aggregated comment feed (currently newspapers+slashdot+dig, and facebook+twitter+email).

I think that would be cool.