Twitter pumps up Discover feature with social signals

The Discover feature will pay attention to who you follow to customize a page of recommended stories for you.

Twitter's Discovery tab will soon be improved, a Twitter blog post says. Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

Twitter's "Discover" feature is getting more dialed in to users' preferences, a blog post by Twitter Vice President Satya Patel announced this morning.

The post says the feature will pay attention to "additional personalization signals" to figure out which stories to display, instead of just showing users what's trending. Presumably, these signals include which accounts a user is following, what topics a user tends to retweet, and perhaps the content of a user's own tweets. Update:Speaking at a Wired conference, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said that the new #Discover feature currently only uses the list of who you follow as its personalization signals.

The current design of the Discover tab (and the page on the Android app) gives users an easy way to find related tweets based on topics that appear, and it makes it easy to add one's own comments.

A quick look at the current shows how much better the page could be with personalization. The Discover page this morning showed trending topics, including a useful (for me) story about Research In Motion's Blackberry, but also something about Jessica Simpson and a tweet in Spanish, a language I don't speak and in which I certainly have never tweeted.

The feature will appear "in the coming weeks" on the Web site, soon thereafter making it into Twitter's iPhone and Android apps. No word on how or when it will appear in the Twitter desktop apps.

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