Ever since you recommended it at a conference a while back, I’ve been a big fan of NewsGator Online as my RSS reader. As you said, being able to catch up on my feeds from any Web browser anywhere in the world is darn convenient. However, there’s a dark cloud: I have been using various “smart searches” to keep track of our company, our competitors, my wife, etc., and find that I get the same match again and again in the reader. Is there some way I can create a more sophisticated search?
I’ve started to burn out on RSS readers myself due to the proliferation of different vampire feeds, actually, where they republish data that’s already on the net either for spammy reasons (to automatically create pages for Google AdSense ads, for example) or because it’s been bookmarked or similar. In essence, when someone mentions a word or phrase that I personally am tracking, I can see the match appear in my reader a dozen times or more over the next few days. Not so useful.
What you’re talking about is at least easier to address, however. You’re talking about how if you have two smart searches, one for, say, “Britney Spears” and another for “Paris Hilton”, someone who has mentions both women in the same posting will result in you seeing it twice in NewsGator, once for each pattern. Yes, it’s darn annoying!
Fortunately, though they don’t make it easy to find, there is indeed a reasonably sophisticated search language you can use in NewsGator Online to create better Smart Search patterns, and thank goodness for that. It’s documented here: NewsGator Online Advanced Search Features, but in a nutshell you have the following three operators you can sprinkle into your search to make it more useful:
- AND logically connects words and is the default connector.
- OR lets you list a set of words, any of which can be matched.
- NOT lets you indicate stop words that will unmatch a matched RSS entry.
You can also use quotes to tie multiple words together, so the following two searches are not the same in NewsGator Online:
tour de france
"tour de france"
The former search would match “In France, when on tour, we saw the Isle de Mort Cafe”, while the latter search phrase would correctly omit it from your results.
Tie this all together and you can get fairly sophisticated searches in your Smart Search, which is a huge boon. Indeed, when I go to My Settings –> My Feeds, you can now see that I use this very notation to keep track of other mentions of my weblogs:
Much better than five different searches and if someone mentions more than one domain in a posting, I only have to see it once!