A few months ago, Yahoo! announced that they were planning to retire their Yahoo! Pipes service. Fortunately, Netvibes already has a native alternative to offer: Tracked topics. Let’s see how this feature works.
Yahoo! will no longer allow you to create any new pipes after August 30th. Your existing pipes will still be working until the end of September, but after that, they will be completely deprecated, meaning that they will no longer crunch new content nor will they be retrievable into your Netvibes dashboard.
Your Netvibes dashboard allows you to add as many sources as you wish — RSS feeds, your own social network timelines, searches, etc. The content you aggregate may quickly become overwhelming. And even if you try to revolve around one specific topic, some of your feeds may also publish items that are not relevant to you, which is probably why you resorted to Yahoo! pipes in the first place.
Clearing the noise from your dashboard is actually easy: create Tracked Topic apps.
Just enter a keyword related to the topic you want to watch in the search field located on the top bar of your dashboard. You can then either directly create a Tracked topic app from the drop-down list that just opened by clicking on the « Save tracked topic » button or fine-tune your search by clicking on « See all, refine & analyze ».
With the latter option, all of your search results will be displayed at the center of the page, allowing you refine your search by both adjusting the parameters on the left side panel and by adding search operators using the available facets located on the right side of the page. The results will automatically update accordingly.
Once you have drilled down to the results you want, click on the green « Save tracked topic » button on the bottom right-hand corner of the page.
For instance, let’s say you are only interested in articles about Apple. You may have many tech feeds on your dashboard, including news from TechCrunch, Gigaom, The Next Web and the Verge, but also general news from the New York Times or CNN.
Then, all you need to do is to enter the keyword “Apple” in the search field. After hitting the See all & refine button, select the sources you are only interested in (TechCrunch, Gigaom, The Next Web and the Verge in this case) under the domain filter option. When your are done, save your tracked topic app.
And there you go! You now have a reading app that will only display content that matters to you. Of course, you can repeat this process to create as many Tracked topic apps as you need.
Advanced users can even go further and use boolean operators to tweak their queries directly from the search field. Read more here.
Any Tracked topic app can also be converted into an RSS feed. On the app’s header, click on the four-dot edit icon > export > RSS feed.
You now have a custom RSS feed exclusively composed of items that are relevant to you – just as you used to have with Yahoo! Pipes. Copy the RSS URL and paste it wherever you want or share it with your friends or team.