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RealTime IT News

Twitter Has 'Lists' and Location on Tap

Twitter today took a step toward making it easier for users to organize and manage all of the updates their contacts post.

The microblogging phenomenon said that it's testing a new service called Lists with a small subset of its users. In a blog post, Lists project lead Nick Kallen said it's designed to help Twitter users store and manage lists of accounts they follow.

As examples, he said the feature would let users create various lists like the funniest Twitter accounts of all time, athletes, local businesses, friends, or similar compilation.

But Lists goes beyond just private storage. Twitter said it plans to leverage the community nature of the service by making each user's lists public as part of their profile by default. Users can change the setting to private. Other Twitter users will also be able to subscribe to those lists.

"This means lists have the potential to be an important new discovery mechanism for great tweets and accounts," Kallen said.

There are already hundreds, if not thousands of companies offering utilities to help users manage and dig deeper into Twitter. Kallen said Twitter started working on Lists because of frequent requests from users looking for better ways to organize their Twitter accounts.

Twitter also said it expects Lists to open up new opportunities for developers. In the next few days, the company plans to announce an API for Lists that will let developers add support for Lists into other Twitter applications.

Kallen said that after a brief testing period, Lists will be available to all Twitter users.

Where are you Tweeting from?

Separately, Twitter also appears to be making progress with its geolocation API for developers. Raffi Krikorian of the Twitter Platform Team, noted in a Google Groups message today that the company has taken "the first steps to get the geolocation API out our door."

In a blog post back in August, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said the goal is to make the micro-blogging service "truly location-aware."

In his description, Stone said that "with accurate, tweet-level location data you could switch from reading the tweets of accounts you follow to reading tweets from anyone in your neighborhood or city—whether you follow them or not. It's easy to imagine how this might be interesting at an event like a concert or even something more dramatic like an earthquake."

The news follows Twitter's recent announcement that it had received a large amount of funding from several investment groups rumored to be in the $100 million range. Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams described the funding as "significant" in a recent blog post, but did not name a specific figure.

The service has seen rapid growth in the past year. Worldwide visitors to Twitter.com hit 44.5 million in June, up 15-fold from a year earlier, according to comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR) data.

With that growth comes expenses, making the investment especially important considering that Twitter has to date seemed in no hurry to monetize the site. Co-founder Biz Stone said last month that the company has no plans to introduce advertising to the site this year.

Instead, Stone said the company's immediate focus was to build out features, including an improved search functions and paid-for commercial accounts.

Updated to include information on Twitter's geolocation plans.