A LEAP INTO THE WEB

LeapTag.com is much like the StumbleUpon.com web site we wrote about some weeks ago. In that one, you let them pick sites at random and take you to some places you were unlikely to have found any other way.

Both these sites try to zone in on your interests. But StumbleUpon brings you all kinds of websites, where LeapTag brings you news and blogs. If you like model trains, StumbleUpon finds you train sites, LeapTag finds you model train news. Both services would like you to rate the sites they find, but LeapTag also asks you to rate the ads that appear on their pages; you don’t have to rate anything if you don’t feel like it.

You start by downloading and installing the free LeapTag software for Windows or Mac. Then when you type something in the search box, the software creates a page of news for that category. The software then tailors its next search for news according to what you said you liked.

One downside: your category tag can wander far from the original topic. We created the category “Economics” and were interested in articles about the University of Chicago and its influence on the world. But we also tagged an article on diabetes, and after that, every story that came in under “Economics” was tied to health problems. We started a new “Economics” tab to solve this problem, but we kept the old one as well because we liked the way it saved our favorite sites in a handy sidebar. It also saved the ads we liked, which were all for books.

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