Likehack Aggregates & Curates Links from All Your Social Feeds

Between Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds, the number of links that are shared with me on a regular basis is, to put it mildly, crazy. So I’m always on the lookout for solutions that promise to make some sense out of this truckload of random information coming my way, and even a way to aggregate these links and find the best ones.

Likehack is the latest contender to promise those features, and it’s actually a bit different from what I expected. I signed up for the service thinking I would get a list of all the links I get, auto-sorted by categories like images, videos and articles. Instead, Likehack works behind the scenes to actually suggest the most important links it thinks I would like, once you’ve connected it to all of your accounts. So far, so good.

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Bring Them All In

Likehack lets you connect your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. You can also upload your Google Reader RSS zip file or connect individual sites via RSS. Likehack also goes on to suggest top blogs you should follow (such as Engadget, Lifehacker, Mashable) as well as offers to bulk-follow groups of sites categorised by industry, such as Web design, Life hack, Startup pack, Innovations and more.

Once you have hooked up all the accounts and sites you want to follow, you need to give Likehack some time to bring all that information in and start analysing it. This first run is a time-consuming process, so it’s best to just let it happen and get on to doing something else. Likehack will tell you when it’s done with an email. In my case, it needed a little over 3 hours.

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What You Need To See

The News feed of your Likehack page is a wonderful thing when it’s working right. Analysing the links that are shared with you, Likehack finds who likes the same links from the same sites among five million people and show you relevant items accordingly. On paper, that sounds great. But in actual usage, there are still several bugs that make it a bit annoying.

The site works as it should, giving you important links, arranged in a cool grid with a headline, short intro and photo where applicable. Along with that, you will see who shared it on your timeline. But in my opinion, the links weren’t the best items I should see every day. It didn’t really understand my tastes and serve material accordingly, it’s a simple popularity metric that ends up also putting out a lot of rubbish.

Also, for several links, the headline is missing — I only saw non-descriptive headers like “Some youtube.com link” and “Some techmeme.com link”. So I had no idea what I could be clicking on and whether it would be of use to me or not. This seems to be some error in fetching information from a few sites, because I found it to be prevalent across several sites. Instagram images, for instance, just say “Instagram” as the header and “XYZ’s photo on Instagram” as the description, where XYZ is the name of the user. For a site which is meant to show me a collation of all the links that I should check out, this is a major failure because if I’m going to click on something, I should know what it is!

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Below the main grid of links, you’ll see a chronological list of every link being shared on your networks, one after the other. I actually found this quite useful because, in a snapshot, I could check out the best links from different networks. When the Royal Baby was being born, I immediately saw links from Facebook and Twitter at the same time and didn’t have to switch between tabs to see what people were saying.

Search & Favourites

“Hey, there was this cool link about a tiger cub that plays with dogs, but I can’t quite remember who shared it with me. I think it’s on my Facebook… or was it Twitter?”

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, join the club. One of the persistent problems I have with getting so many links of different networks is keeping track of them. And Likehack is a godsend when it comes to that.

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The service lets you search through links shared on all your networks, which is such a tremendous relief. Really, it seems like a small thing, but once you start using it, you wonder how you used to function before it.

There’s a Chrome extension available that makes this searching very easy and convenient, and also lets you save links.

That’s right, Likehack also has the option to let you save links for later. These can all be accessed through the ‘Favorite’ tab in the top bar.

Final Words

As someone who is always glued to his social networks, I thought I really wouldn’t need Likehack as much — after all, how could links get past me when I’m reading everything? But I found that several did, and visiting Likehack at the end of the day let me take stock of some of the better ones I might have missed or just put off till later.

I am actually relying more on the daily email summary that Likehack offers to send directly to your inbox. This quick snapshot works well to sum up the important events of the day, in my experience — but that could be because I follow a lot of news blogs.

Overall, I found Likehack to be more useful for the aggregation part of its duties than the smart curation part. If you want a place where you can find all the links shared with you on social networks and search through them quickly if need be, then Likehack is great. If you’re still on the lookout for a smart algorithm that intelligently picks out the best stories that need your attention, your search isn’t over yet.


Summary

Likehack is a news feed reader that aggregates and hand-picks the links you need to see from your social networks and RSS subscriptions

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