We're all short on time, but many of us are big on curiosity. The desire to be connected to our friends, and tuned in to beloved hobbies and careers is only human nature. When we're not careful we are inclined to flood our attention with too many subscriptions, likes, and become frustrated with all the sources of information that are available. We effectively hear nothing because everyone's shouting for our precious attention. That's where KnowAbout.it comes to our rescue*.
KnowAbout.it brings order to communication chaos, it reigns in the attention escalation war, and rewards my attention with a handful of high quality links from my already personalized social news stream. Each morning I wake up to an opt in email which captures the best of my stream from the previous day. Now I don't miss quiet sources or interest matching links in the stream.
No twitter friends, no problem
I use twitter as a context sensitive list subscription tool so my default follow list is empty because I believe attention and participation are scarce resources. This would cause most other services to come up empty, but not KAI.
A recent feature crafted into the service enables me to pull in my entire Google Reader collection with a single click, in addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Buzz integration. KAI is agnostic to the source of your dynamic content, and translates your favorite content into the lingua franca of the web.
Local Search not quite ready yet
One of my favorite features of social filtering apps is personal search filtered by content source. Search is a hard problem and it isn't quite ready for primetime on KAI yet (it doesn't satisfy my memory assistant needs). But another startup that I'm actively working with is hyper targeted on the challenges of social search, and I'm excited to share that as soon as it goes live.
I perceive opportunities for collaboration between structured social information services. There are strategic advantages of leveraging the strength of each companies' api to provide their clients with an amazing experience that no business could provide on its own.
It's an uphill battle
But it's not all rainbows and unicorns. The market that Kevin and Will are tackling is full of top notch competitors like My6sense, Twitter, Facebook, Google, and even Foursquare to a lesser extent. All of these companies perform signal analysis and seek to provide the most relevant information to their clients. The battles are being waged over design, data ownership, and appropriate algorithms and human filters. When data is owned by the client, and companies compete over quality not network lock in, then we all win out with superior products.
*= Full disclosure I've been friends with Kevin Marshall before he and Will kick started KnowAbout.it and have watched the service grow from an idea into a time saving tool.