Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Charlie WattsImage via WikipediaI've been trying out a new Firefox plug-in called Zemanta. It's a tool that generates suggestions of photos, links, tags(labels) and articles for your blog based on its analysis of the content. As you type, Zemanta looks for suggestions and then presents them to you after every 300 characters (or, you can click to update the suggestions whenever you want). Most of the links come from Wikipedia, with homepage links for some things. It was really buggy when I gave it a test run this past weekend, but they just pushed out an update and things are running much better now. It's in alpha, so bugs and fixes can be expected. I must say that their support people are very responsive, answering questions incredibly quickly even on the weekend.

So, let's give it a whirl and see what suggestions it finds from this list:

Northampton, Massachusetts
Tower of London
Emma Goldman
Rolling Stones

Not bad -- Zemanta found links for all of these, giving me a choice of Wikipedia article or homepage for several. It found five pix of Northampton or Hampshire County, the Firefox logo, and a photo of Charlie Watts. I've added a couple of the suggested articles below; these give more info about how Zemanta works (geekspeak about algorithms and such) and have some screen shots and videos (I like the demo video).

If you're using Blogger, Typepad or WordPress for your blog, and Firefox for your browser, I suggest you try Zemanta and see what you think. Don't be surprised if you have to reload your dashboard page [Ctrl-F5] when you first open a new post, or if you have to turn off ad blocking -- such as AdblockPlus -- for that page in order to make it work. Be patient as they work out the bugs -- it's a great concept, and should improve with age.

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