Tag Archives: personalized

Push notifications for a news application

What should be the policy for push notifications for a news app? With early each app sending push notifications most users have the ubiqutous “red star” on most apps on their devices. Does sending a notification for every new story make sense? Does sending a summary notification make sense? Should we think of customized, personalized notifications.

Here’s a quote from a friend I think of highly as a good thinker of new tech.

“I have stopped following any press these days. No news channels nor economic times or any such information now. For me most news has become non-actionable. The media content has become exponential both from generated content or syndicated content standpoint. After sifting through pages of content you are still trying to find the actionable items in those. I have started following social media and have started calling some of my connections JENA (Just Enough News Agent). The job of this person is to tweet around what he has read and if you have a few good connections they provide you a pretty descent exposure to the filtered new events.”

How do we make the notification actionable. What sort of news content is actionable?

In past articles, we have talked about building inNews as an aggregator that determines the BIG news at this time based on the volume and velocity of news articles on that story line and presents the top news with all related articles. It seems logical then to offer a customized, personalized option to the user to choose to receive notifications which will bring to focus the BIG news at that time so the user can check it out. But what will make it actionable? Can we link the notifications to the temporal value of news consumption?

As a user, I may be interested in the top news in the morning to know and also to re-affirm my knowledge of the top news stories from the previous day; by mid-day as I want to catch up on any major breaking stories during the day (especially financial or political) and end of the working day so I have a mental framework for catching up on the news in the evening as needed.

So if we link curiosity about the “news of the day” with the temporal and offer an option to the user to choose which notifications she is interested in, can we bring new value to the user? The answer of course lies in offering the solution to the user and testing the hypothesis.

Coming up in the next inNews release: personalized push notifications bringing you the top news of the morning, mid-day and evening. So that you stay abreast of news. And we get to see you daily. Stay tuned.

Indexing flash content

Search engines do not index Flash content, as they cannot extract usual content such as text and links from the Flash files.  Search results do not show much of the Flash content, which is quite frustrating for the web developers who work hard to get their Flash web pages indexed and ranked in the search results.  However, things now are changing as Adobe and Google are working together to get this hitch removed away.

Since Google is launching a “deep algorithm change”, it can seek pages, which earlier could not be tracked.  Moreover, Adobe is supplying the Flash reader technology that helps read Flash files and extract text and links from it.  It helps in better indexing and ranking.

Let us learn some details about how this works. In addition, there are some caveats that you should know because some developers think it as a kind of magic wand which frees them of any work that goes in ensuring that their Flash applications are search engine friendly.

Google can index Flash files

For some time, Google team was working on to improve how they crawl and index rich content. The team was looking for ways to crawl rich content like Flash and JavaScript. Though it was able to extract some links and text, it was not that useful. This new Adobe technology is less error prone and Google can crawl and access any version of Flash in different languages.

New development from Adobe   to collaborate search engines

Adobe has developed an optimized Flash player for search engines. It is collaborating with Google and Yahoo! However, Yahoo! is not supporting the technology as yet. It is planning to support searchable SWF.   It is working with Adobe to find the best solution.

Though Adobe’s new technology is not available for all search engines such as Microsoft’s Live Search or others, they are developing it to become available at broad level to make SWF content easily searchable.

Though earlier Google’s help documentation had that use Flash –only images sparingly or embed them in textual form, now Googlebot can extract textual content and links. It can better crawl and index the Flash content.

It started in 2008 when Google announced that, in collaboration with Adobe, it is developing a technology to improve the capability to Index Flash content.  The new algorithm from Google had made it possible to index all kinds of Flash files, Flash menu, buttons, banners, to self contained Flash websites.  Before this Flash indexing system came into being, developers and designer faced problem about presenting data via Flash content and they had to work hard to present their data.

How Google does this?  Google does it by creating a snippet for each website.  In addition, it also uses words present in the Flash files for indexing. Its indexing algorithm also has the ability to discover URL.


Google’s ability to read and index the Flash content include indexing of the textual content as displayed because Google can interact as a normal user. It can discover links within the Flash content and in addition, it can load external content and associate with parent file.