Facebook’s 500 million-plus users are a noisy bunch. To cut through the chatter, search engine Wowd today announced it has launched a new tool dubbed the Social Discovery Client.
Wowd has been telling Web surfers what’s popular online by gauging what gets clicked on the most, but the newly released tool for Facebook lets users easily filter updates from friends, create custom feeds, and block game spam. The tool must be downloaded and works with all major operating systems, including Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.
Facebook’s News Feed filters friends’ updates according to the social network’s own algorithms, but Wowd’s new tool takes it to the next level by letting users create filters by topic or keyword and create a feed of related content. Feeds can be saved and organized. If a user is interested in seeing what friends are talking about, say, the Red Sox, a custom feed can be created to see just those mentions in updates.
Probably the most annoying updates that comes from friends on Facebook are from games. For example, I receive several from friends playing Mafia Wars, a crime game that lets players make alliances and battle each other. Wowd’s new feature lets users block these gaming updates if desired (see image below). This feature may be less useful given Facebook’s recent move to stop showing game updates to non-gamers on Facebook, but if you’re still seeing too many game updates, it may have some appeal.
While Facebook’s basic News Feed and search functions are probably the closest competition to Wowd’s new tool, the company also notes a project called Spindex from Microsoft’s Fuse Labs as a potential rival. The project aggregates a users social media channels into one page and shows popular feeds and trends among friends. The main difference appears to be that Wowd is working to de-clutter, while Spindex seems to be showing users what’s popular.
The Palo-Alto, California-based company claims to have around 320,000 downloads of its search engine. With its new Facebook tool those downloads could jump significantly. It will be interesting to see if Facebook users feel they need a tool to manage and organize their networks.