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Thoof, a new social and personalized media service founded and spearheaded by Revver co-founder Ian Clarke, was recently released in an invite-only beta. The idea behind Thoof is to act as a central platform for changing media on the web — whether that’s news articles, websites, or videos — and let users share their interests with friends, as well as participate in Thoof’s recommendation engine and have a personalized view each time.
Essentially, Thoof is a mixture of something like Digg and Findory, where the core ideas remain, but they’re blended together to create a unique experience for the user. Similarly to Digg, users submit stories — and all content is user-generated — but instead of having others vote upon them, Thoof relies on users sharing these stories and with the use of its recommendation engine, determines future ones they’d find interesting based on their habits.
Every user has their own personal ‘homepage,’ with their own selection of stories, which are presented in clips-and-annotations scattered throughout. Aside each story, there’s a list of related tags, and an ‘improve’ button, which adds a Wiki aspect to the whole thing and lets users edit stories’ titles and descriptions, as well as add tags and supply a ‘reason for change.’
All stories clicked on by users are added to their ‘history’ page, which is the core of Thoof’s recommendation engine. The listings are also marked with a ‘read’ field, which displays a relative time to when the story was clicked on (i.e. read: 10 minutes ago).
What I like about Thoof is that it’s taken a bunch of simple concepts — i.e. user-generated content, wiki-like editing, and personalized recommendations — and bundled them into something simpler, unique, and cool. The service is easy to use, and as the amount of submitted content on the site increases, I can imagine it getting to the standard of something like Newsvine, which also focuses on social news. Of course, the added recommendation engine is what makes Thoof stands out from the social media crowd, and it’s exciting to see it at work.