08 September 2014

Om Malik: “Wanna Nuzzel?”

Nuzzel is doing one thing and one thing only — giving me a quick and easy way to surface the stories that are being shared by my social networks. The stories that are most popular with my network quickly rise to the top, and I can sort them based on time elapsed — two hours, four hours or eight hours. There is option to find the latest, most recent stories that are popular with my peeps. And then there is the best option — what friends of friends are reading. It is like Techmeme and Twitter had a baby.

Om Malik

I’ve been using this new service for a couple of weeks as well and I largely agree with Om’s review. Nuzzel is a good way to keep up with your stream and discover new stories based on their popularity, similar to Techmeme, but personalized for your interests. It’s useful first of all when you don’t have time to go through your stream and prefer a quick, at-a-glance view of what happened in the last hours or days. The more interesting links – articles you’re less likely to see directly on – can be discovered in the ‘Friends of friends’ section. It would be awesome if the app would also access Twitter lists and display popular tweets from them; I know a lot of people don’t use lists, but I have a couple that I’m not accessing very often and here would be a good place to catch up.

The site could use a cleaner design, but its usefulness comes mainly from the quality of the links, not necessarily from being clean or modern-looking. The crammed webpage offers many extra options, like native retweets and integration with Buffer. I personally signed up for the daily newsletter and ignored the site afterwards. Another minus for me is that Nuzzel redirects clicks to their own servers and, when you open a link from the newsletter, you get a large toolbar on top with sharing buttons and Twitter avatars. Only after you dismiss the toolbar you’re directed to the original site with the story.

The iOS app looks a lot better and has basically the same options, so I’ll probably prefer it to the web version. It includes a nice ‘reading view’, which, similar to Safari’s, reformats articles to focus on the text, removing images and applying a consistent style for any article. Since many sites still aren’t properly optimized to be mobile or at least responsive, it makes reading more comfortable. It would be nice if this could be the default view; from what I can see currently, it can be turned on only after loading the original article, by clicking on the ‘Text’ button in the top right corner. Other aspects of the app are not that intuitive: I struggled to discover how to retweet links for example. You need to tap the bottom bar showing the avatars of people who shared the article, then tap an individual tweet and there you’ll find the buttons for replying, retweeting and staring.

  • Nuzzel Reading view in iOS app
  • Nuzzel timeline in iOS app
  • Sharing directly to Whatsapp from the Nuzzel iOS app
  • Options for the original tweet in the Nuzzel iOS app

The need for apps like Nuzzel, who turn the busy stream into a more manageable digest, takes me back to the outrage about the possible filtering of the timeline by Twitter itself. There’s clearly a need for a more focused timeline, even among power users, so why condemn Twitter for trying to build it, as long as the real-time stream remains an option for those who want it?

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