Twine reaches 1.0, opens to public
Almost exactly one year ago, we wrote about Twine, a social network built on the semantic web. After expanding the private beta back in March, the Twine team has spent the last eight months really working on site usability, interface and performance. Today, Twine 1.0 is officially out of beta and open to the public.
I had a chance to talk to Nova Spivack, the CEO and founder of Radar Networks-- the company behind Twine -- last week and he walked me through the service. I have to say, as someone who was intrigued by the idea of Twine before, but frustrated by its interface, the new Twine kicks ass.
Twine describes itself as an "interest network," you could also call it a semantic web portal. I like to think of it like Delicious on crack. Like Delicious, and Stumble Upon and to a lesser extent, Digg, Twine is a way to manage and share links of interest. Unlike those services, Twine will also work to scour the web for information related to your interests and can help organize information into more useful snippets.
This is how it works: you sign up for a free Twine account, and enter in things you are interested in. Then, you can start searching for your interests to find individual sites, and bundles of sites, known as "Twines" to join. Group Twines, like Cool are monitored by lots of users (or if you want a more private bundle, you can restrict it to just friends and family) who contribute web links, books, videos and other information related to the topic. Not only can you share information, you can also comment on information that is being shared. It's a great way to not only find and save information, but to share information with your friends or with others who share your interests as well.
When you subscribe to a Twine, you can choose to receive daily updates by e-mail of what content has been added to a Twine, monitor the Twine through RSS or see it live on Twine.com. Although I get far too much e-mail to want a daily notification about my interest feeds, this is something I could see my mom -- who will never understand RSS or how to use it -- really liking. If she could get updates on a Twine about gardening or interior decorating (her two favorite hobbies), she would be in heaven.
The user interface is really nice. Very Web 2.0 -- and I mean that in a good way. Using the Twine bookmarklet (which works with all major browsers), you can automatically add a site or a particular block of text to either your personal private Twine items, to a public Twine, or to a group Twine you are part of.
You can even import your Digg, Delicious and browser links into Twine (they are just available to you, unless you decide to share them to another Twine or with other Twine members), which is a really nice way to consolidate a lot of information. Likewise, you can add your Twine account to Friendfeed.
Nova told me that Twine wants to bring the power of the semantic web to people, without having to have them understand what the semantic web actually is. I think that Twine 1.0 does a really, really nice job of achieving that goal.
Twine is free service and is available for sign-up now.