Twitter Sidelines Discover as Other Content Experiments Begin

Twitter Inc.’s Discover tool was its first big experiment in changing the way people consumed their updates, organizing posts in order of importance rather than by time. The company is winding down the effort as it looks to new features it’s betting will prove more popular.

Discover will no longer appear on Twitter’s mobile applications, and may soon be gone from the Web application, the company said Wednesday in a blog post. Discover, championed by co-founder Jack Dorsey in 2011 when he was involved with the company’s product direction, was supposed to give users a way to look at their updates that wouldn’t require paying attention all the time, like Facebook Inc.’s News Feed. It built off technology from Julpan Inc., which Twitter acquired in 2011, to surface the most relevant content.

The Discover view has been a tab on Twitter’s website, but it hasn’t seen major updates since 2013. The company’s investment in the product steadily decreased as it became clear that it was unpopular, according to people familiar with the matter.

Now, the San Francisco-based social network is setting aside Discover in favor of new options the company expects will be easier to use as it works to retain and increase its 288 million monthly active users. It’s a number that hasn’t grown as fast as analysts predicted since the company’s 2013 initial public offering.

New Features

Twitter’s new efforts include an instant timeline for new sign-ups that helps people start using the product quickly instead of spending time to decide what accounts to follow. There’s also a function called While You Were Away, which puts the most popular or interesting tweets that were missed at the beginning of the user’s timeline. And Twitter is testing a format for tweets that puts images on top of text, Bloomberg reported earlier Wednesday.

The company also is going to move its Trends tool from the Discover tab to the search feature, so when people look for an event on Twitter, they can immediately see some of the main things that are happening on the site.

“We’ve been working to make content easier to find over the last several months in places like your home timeline –-with recaps and Tweets from within your network,” the company said in its blog post. “We’ll continue to make improvements like these in the future.”

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