BlogRovr plugs you into your favorite blogs, even when you're not reading them
A very useful new browser add-on, BlogRovr, tells when your favorite bloggers have blogged about a site or story that you are reading elsewhere on the Web.
I reviewed ActiveWeave's sticky-note service, called Stickis, in November. I liked the concept but said the site had "user interface features to work through," and that it could "stand to lose some of its advanced features." The team at ActiveWeave apparently got the message, since the company's new product, BlogRovr, is just as interesting as Stickis but also a lot simpler. And, therefore, more useful. (By the way, there's a quote from my Stickis review on the BlogRovr home page. Unsurprisingly, it's not one of the above.)
Here's the BlogRovr concept: There are blogs and sites you like with authors you want to hear from. When surfing the Web, if you find a site or story that one of your favorite sites has written about, you might want to read its commentary on the new content you've encountered.
For this, BlogRovr will be your watchdog. And it's easy to set up: Go to BlogRovr.com and indicate the sites you want to track. Then, when you're reading content that has also been written about by one of your favorite writers, a small slide-out window points you to those write-ups. Or, install the BlogRovr add-on (only available on Firefox, so far) to get a new toolbar button that enables quick adding of blogs or sites to your BlogRovr watch list.
Any site that has an RSS feed will work as a source for BlogRovr. The company says it will eventually write some special code for major sites like Digg, so it can expose more than just text (for Digg: probably a chiclet with the number of Diggs the site has).
The social networking and back-and-forth user comments from ActiveWeave's Stickis product isn't in BlogRover, and you won't miss it. This is a simple service that does a very nice job of keeping you plugged into your favorite bloggers.
I had a problem with the BlogRovr toolbar button not showing up on one of my tweaked-to-death PCs, but it works fine on another. Overall, the concept, utility, and usability of this new service is extremely good. I plan to start using it immediately.