Twingly Channels is launching into private beta today, opening up to the wide public later this year. At the moment one has to apply for an invite by suggesting a channel topic.
Swedish Twingly have been building up the hype since early June when they first announced Project Shinobi, the working name for Twingly Channels we then got a sneak preview of for a month ago at the Sweden Social Web Camp. And they certainly are reaching for the stars, or as Martin Källström, CEO Twingly, puts it:
“Twingly Channels lets people cut out the noise of online search and the real-time web — to instantly see what news and content to spend time on. By following topics rather than bloggers or outlets, Twingly simplifies the challenge of RSS, social search, and the real-time web.“
There are many of us wishing for the ultimate filter to choose for us what’s important at the moment. Twingly Channels is trying to solve that by having two feeds: the main feed, Incoming Stories, consisting of all the selected channel sources, and the Popular Stories, a result of the jointly ranked content by channel subscribers and Twingly’s proprietary ranking algorithm. Feeds are continuously ranked displaying pretty neat real-time updates, see picture above.
Martin himself describes Twingly Channels as a mix between Digg och Friendfeed, and I do agree. It feels like Friendfeed groups merged with a real-time Digg function. As a subscriber of a channel one can post both text and links, like on Friendfeed, to add content and start conversations. Users can then ‘like’ items to boost their ranking in the Popular Stories stream.
Since the comments and “likes” stay within Twingly Channels, the channels naturally become new sources of information to keep up with. It’s also dependent on the social interaction to become a valid filter for its users. I can personally find a strength in having a few larger channels where the internal ranking helps me to filter the content, sort of like having my RSS reader ranked by my peers. But, when the number of channels per each topic increases, so does the challenge to keep track.
There are yet no apps to Twingly Channels, though Martin mentioned API’s at the previous introduction. He then also sent out a word to help Twingly to develop an Adobe Air client, e.g. like Tweetdeck for Twitter, as well as an iPhone app. They will be most welcomed.
The business model of Twingly Channels lies in offering companies both branded channels, as well as private ones in the emerging competitive space of brand tracking and social media monitoring.
I see Twingly Channels as a step towards to curated content on the web, and I think it will serve well the long tail with vertical nische topics and communities. So far, all smiles.