Twitter launched a news aggregation tool today that collects the most shared stories by people in your network. Twitter calls it Popular Articles, and it sounds, looks, and works a lot like Nuzzel, the no-frills, RSS-like link aggregator that launched back in 2014.
Nuzzel has been a huge hit among journalists and other news-hungry Twitter users because of how simple it is and how well it works. So, it felt like only a matter of time before Twitter either moved to acquire the company, as it did with TweetDeck way back in 2011, or developed its own version of Nuzzel’s core feature. Twitter confirmed to The Verge that the feature is now available globally for iOS and Android. The existence of the Popular Articles feature was first reported today by BuzzFeed News.
Twitter is trying to offer users a Nuzzel competitor for finding popular news
There are a couple of kinks to work out. Popular Articles isn’t quite as robust as Nuzzel. For one, the feature is buried, like many of Twitter’s only more extraneous add-ons, in the search menu alongside trending topics and Moments, both of which take up the majority of the upper half of the running list. To find Popular Articles, you’ll need to scroll down, past special-purpose sections like “Popular in General News” until you find it.
Once there, you don’t get the same link-sharing breakdown that Nuzzel gives you, where the latter service tells you who tweeted the link, when they tweeted it, and what kind of additional commentary they added. Instead, Popular Articles just gives you a bare-bones list with a numeric count of the number of your followers that shared the same link. Tapping the “show more” option also appears to take you to a new screen governed not by your personal network, but by the number of tweets an article is getting across Twitter, removing the personalization feature that makes Nuzzel such a great utility.
Still, it’s promising that Twitter recognizes why these types of third-party tools take off. And that instead of moving to outright kill a product like Nuzzel, the company is borrowing what works and trying to offer it to more users, especially those who may not use a tool like Nuzzel over something baked directly into the main Twitter app.