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Innovation

Planet Android and the terrible twos

Since its inception, Planet Android has been a great success, far surpassing my expectations in terms of the number and quality of feeds and followers. But is it now too much of a good thing? As the Planet enters its second year, I'm looking for your input on the direction we should take the site.
Written by Ed Burnette, Contributor on
I created Planet Android over a year ago to bring together blog feeds from Android developers and enthusiasts from around the world. Since its inception it's been a great success, far surpassing my expectations in terms of the number and quality of feeds and followers. Thousands of people use the Planet as their primary source of Android information. If I've heard any complaint at all it's that sometimes it's all a bit overwhelming. As Planet Android enters its second year, I'm looking for your input on the direction we should take the site.

[ Now on twitter: Follow @eburnette and @droidfeed ]

Originally the idea was to just have individual contributors--mostly developers and teams working to bring the best content to the Android platform. Then something I didn't expect happened: dozens of Android news and information sites sprouted up, sites like Android Guys and Phandroid. When the first one asked to be added to the Planet I said no, but then I got another request, and another, and pretty soon I opened the floodgates and let them in as well.

Lately, I've noticed that the content from those news sites is threatening to drown everything else out. For example, here are the first 15 articles on the Planet as I write this:

  1. Sprint HTC Hero announced
  2. Sprint HTC Hero announced
  3. Sprint HTC Hero announced
  4. Sprint HTC Hero announced
  5. Sprint HTC Hero announced
  6. T-Mobile UK Pulse announced
  7. T-Mobile UK Pulse announced
  8. Sprint HTC Hero announced
  9. T-Mobile UK Pulse announced
  10. T-Mobile UK Pulse announced
  11. Samsung Behold 2 spotted
  12. Samsung Galaxy Lite info
  13. Sprint HTC Hero announced
  14. Webkit WebView Plugins
  15. HexageGames TOTEMO preview

And so forth. As you can see, there's a lot of duplication when it comes to the hot stories, with a few golden nuggets sprinkled around. That's the first problem, or at least I think it's a problem. Solving it is tough. If we removed all the news sites, then Planet Android would be a lot less interesting. If we remove some and leave others, how do we decide which to keep?

Another thing that concerns me is unsubstantiated rumors and speculation. In moderation, rumors can stir up interest in the platform and create anticipation. But as we saw with Cupcake, there's a risk that when the rumors don't pan out, all that pent-up anticipation turns to anger and blows up in the face of the Android developers. So the question is, should sites that post irresponsible rumors be filtered out and who decides what is responsible? Or is there no such thing as too many rumors?

This is where you come in. I need your feedback on all these issues and more. Please provide your thoughts in the talkback area below.

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