Associated Content, a media company fronted by former Googler Patrick Keane, is planning to rank websites, podcasts and videos on a sliding scale in a bold move to become the filter of choice for the Internet.

Basing his work on Pagerank, which is at the heart of Google's phenomenally successful search engine, Keane is trying to build software that will be able to give a quality code to any online content.

The key to "quality", says Keane, is "usefulness":

"There could be a guy blogging in his underpants in Chicago about video games, that might not be a professionally trained journalist and may not be the world's best writer".

"But if someone is looking for cheat codes, is looking for information and is looking for strategic tools and advice on how to play games and that guy is creating great content, is that quality? Is that useful for the user?"

But building that is tough, so Associated Content aims to pull in opinions from as many places as possible, in the same way that Metacritic averages out scores from different places.

It'll be a combination of human input - from contributors, content managers and users - and machine-based semantic analysis of text. "This is not an inconsequential task. It's going to take some real development, engineering, thinking and all of the other juicy things that go into it", says Keane.

The result, he hopes, will be a filter for the masses of content available online that achieves something special - an unbiased, automatic ranking of the oodles of stuff that pours out of the Internet every day.

We'll keep you posted of his progress.