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October 6, 2011 / carlispina

Thoora – Uncover New Content on Your Favorite Topics

Thoora robot picture

Use Thoora to uncover new content.

Keeping up to date on topics can be a challenge with all of the possible sources to choose from on the internet. While there are services to help follow specific sources or topics, it is easy to miss high-quality information from small or new sources and it can be hard to feel that you are truly finding every relevant item. Thoora, which recently launched its public beta, aims to help users meet this challenge using their “content discovery engine.”

According to their website, Thoora “uses over 100 signals to filter, rank, and deliver that content to you for your refinement.” This means that once a user has created a topic and set up some keywords that the user wants to focus on within that topic, Thoora will not only find items that include those keywords but they will also analyze them using their specialized algorithms to select the best, most relevant items regardless of whether they come from large online media sources or tiny blogs. To move beyond simply searching for standard web content, users can also bring in content from specified RSS feeds or tweets from selected Twitter accounts which will then be included on separate tabs within the content. There is also a similar separate tab for images on the topic.

And, the process isn’t over when the initial list of results is generated. Users have the ability to help Thoora learn about their interests and refine results by marking items as favorites or deleting them. To help Thoora generate better results in the future, you are asked to choose from 4 options when deleting an item so that Thoora will know whether the item was irrelevant, unimportant, spam or just something that you didn’t like. Users also have the options to tell Thoora to include only content from a specific period ranging from two weeks to one day. All of this information then goes into creating a more personalized experience and better future results.

At the same time, Thoora also includes elements of content curation since all items that are marked as favorites are then included on a separate tab where the user can add a personal note or comment to the headline and can drag favorites around on the page to create the optimal order for their favorites. All results can also be shared via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn through a button on each topic page. Thoora has also just entered the mobile space with an app for Android 3.0 available in the Android Market and plans to release apps for the Kindle Fire as well as Android phones, iPads and iPhones in the future.

While I haven’t been using Thoora long enough to have a sense of how well it refines its results based on my likes and dislikes, I think it has great potential to help users to find hidden gems on topics they find important that might have remained hidden with other tools.  I like the fact that it combines finding the content with the ability to curate and share it, though I think it would be great if you could use tags to create subgroups within a single larger topic.  However, this is a minor problem given that you move content around on your Favorites tab to bring like content together. I also hope that over time they will add more sharing options. While it is possible to share a topic by sharing the URL, it would be nice to have an integrated sharing option for more services or even the ability to embed your topics on a website. These minor issues however are just items I hope are changed in the future. Overall, I think the Thoora has a good user interface and is very easy to use. It will be a very handy tool for discovering new sources and keeping track of topics of interest. Check it out for yourself by signing up for your own account or by checking out topics included on Thoora’s Explore page. Or, check out this short video from Thoora explaining how it works:

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