Microsoft is working on the Smart Blogroll, a way for bloggers and blog readers to learn more about the information and topics discussed on blogs.
Bill Slawski points to a paper by Eric Baumer which defines the Smarter Blogroll:
Our approach was to scrape the RSS feeds for all the blogs on a user’s blogroll, run a simple topic extraction algorithm over the content, and present the user with the Smarter Blogroll, wherein blog names are annotated by a list of up to the five most salient recent topics.
By clicking on any of these topics, the list expands to show the titles of recent posts about that topic, the titles themselves being permalinks directly to the post.
Thus, it becomes possible for the user of the blogroll to quickly scan through the list and get a general gist of what his or her blogs are talking about.
Similarly, it enables a new visitor to a blog to get a general impression about the interests of the creator(s) of the blog, as well as quickly navigate through the blogroll to find posts about topics of interest.
The Smarter Blogroll sounds like an interesting approach to merging the RSS aggregator into the exisiting Blogroll, and optimizing such experience.
It will be exciting to see if Microsoft attempts to enter the blog reader, widget and tools market in the same fashion that Yahoo has with MyBlogLog.