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A project to track my reading in Google Chrome
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Reader spy

Reader spy is a project I started in order to track the blogs/feeds/webpages I read and watch. It is not intended to spy on anyone else, just to record data on me for myself.

Some of my goals are to:

  • learn about my reading patterns.
  • rank all my RSS feeds, I have hundreds!
  • build a classifier to recommend new posts which might be of interest to me and give me that feedback in Google Reader.
  • make it possible to trace back how I got to a certain page.

Getting started

  • Compile and start sponge (the data collection server).
cd sponge
rebar get-deps compile
./ start
# The events are logged to the data directory in sponge.
  • Install the tab spy extension in Chrome
    1. Open extensions, Tools > Extensions.
    2. Activate developer mode, if not already activated.
    3. Click the Load uppacked extension button.
    4. Navigate to the tab-spy-extension directory and click OK.

Current status

This project currently contain one chrome extension, tab spy extension, which records, create and remove events of tabs as well as when a tab is active. When clicking the tab spy icon a watched event is generated for the tab currently in focus. It stores the events locally when the server is not accessable. The number of stored events are printed in the tab spy icon. When connected to the server it sends all events, json formated, to the server over a WebSocket. Events may be lost if the server is stopped or crash when the extension is sending events to the server before receiving the close event.

The WebSocket server, sponge, is very simple and is using cowboy. It only receives the events and log them to a file, one, json formated, event per line without any processing. Before the server is started it gzip compress all the old logs from the same host to save space.


When processing RSS feeds I have two modes, searching mode and reading mode. In searching mode I browse a large number of RSS feeds and blog posts in Google reader. When I see something that might be interesting I open it in the background. When I get too many tabs to show the icons on the tabs I usually leave Google Reader and enter reading mode. In reading mode I start looking at the pages I just opened. Some tabs are closed directly, others are read and some are left for later to read.

The browsing the feeds takes a lots of time, can I let a program do the browsing?

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