You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

For a Glimpse at Twitter’s Future, Check Out This App

Twitter is working on a curated news experience that aims to appeal to casual and unregistered users, according to a Buzzfeed report that quotes Twitter executives on the matter. The company’s Project Lightning looks to present major news events with big images and videos that are based curated tweets, with the option to share those collections of tweets on the web and through other apps.

Much of Project Lightning is still in development or under wraps; Buzzfeed had to produce its own illustrations to show how this experience could look like on a mobile phone. Twitter plans to officially launch the feature later this year. But there is already an app out there today that does much of what Project Lightning aims to do — and ironically, it has been built by a former Twitter employee.

Hash is an iOS and Web app that curates Twitter’s trending topics, visualizes them with bold images and lets users explore some of the most-tweeted stories from major news sources. There’s also a small blurb from Wikipedia to explain what a topic is all about, and users have the option to share any story via Twitter, Facebook or email.

To be fair, Twitter’s Project Lightning plans seem to go quite a bit further than hash does today, including autoplay videos and an image-heavy interface that can be navigated by swiping alone. The company also wants to use a team of human editors to curate stories, whereas Hash largely relies on automated curation.

The Hash app was developed last year by Stephen Phillips, who was previously in charge of Twitter’s short-lived music app. Phillips built Hash after leaving the company, in part to make Twitter more accessible to average consumers. “I am a huge Twitter fanboy and power user. But my family and friends struggle to understand how to use it,” he said in an interview late last year.

That’s the same problem Twitter also aims to solve with Project Lightning. The company is under pressure from Wall Street after missing its own guidance for its Q1 earnings report. Twitter, which now has 302 million monthly active users, has also been struggling to compete with Facebook and its 1.3 billion monthly active users.

Well-known Twitter investor Chris Sacca pinned a long critique of the company earlier this month, arguing that Twitter is too “scary” and confusing for new users. A week later, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo stepped down, and the company announced that Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is going to become interim CEO starting July 1.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Bristol, CT - March 13, 2017

    Mina Kimes Helps ESPN Kick Off 'Daily' Podcast

    Mina Kimes is preparing to take ESPN into a new frontier. The sports-media giant has launched a “SportsCenter” for Snapchat and tested baseball telecasts for kids. Now it’s hoping to set up shop in another media venue. Starting tomorrow, the Disney-backed company launches “ESPN Daily,” a weekday morning podcast that aims to tap its vast [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    AT&T's Ad-Tech Unit Xandr Buys Clypd To Help Place TV Commercials More Precisely

    Xandr, the AT&T ad-technology unit, has purchased a new company that helps advertisers use data to place commercials in front of the audiences most likely to want to watch them The AT&T division said Friday it had acquired clypd, a company that helps advertisers move forward in a growing desire by Madison Avenue to run [...]

  • AT&T Logo Building

    AT&T TV Now Price Hike Coming Next Month, Base Package to Cost $65

    AT&T is instituting a substantial price hike for its live TV streaming service AT&T TV Now: Customers who have subscribed to the service’s basic “Plus” package will see their bill go up by $15, to a total of $65 per month, starting next month. The telco has started to inform existing subscribers about the price [...]

  • Disney-Family-Movies

    Disney Family Movies SVOD Service Is Shutting Down Ahead of Disney Plus Debut

    After 11 years, Disney is pulling the plug on Disney Family Movies On Demand — with the service’s shutdown coming just days before the launch of the Mouse House’s Disney Plus. Disney Family Movies, which cost between $5-$10 per month, has been available via pay-TV providers in the U.S., including Comcast Xfinity, Charter Communications, Verizon [...]

  • Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham

    Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ Soccer Doc Series

    Amazon has greenlit a new “All or Nothing” sports documentary series, this time following London-based soccer team Tottenham Hotspur. “All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur” will follow a year in the life of the team, charting the ongoing 2019-20 season. The squad made it to the final of the European Champions League last year, losing to [...]

  • Jeffrey Katzenberg

    Jeffrey Katzenberg's Quibi Picks T-Mobile as Wireless Launch Partner

    Quibi, the short-form mobile TV service founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, announced a pact with T-Mobile to be the official telecommunications partner for its April 2020 launch. T-Mobile will be the exclusive wireless distributor when Quibi launches next spring. However, the arrangement doesn’t mean only T-Mobile customers will be able to subscribe to Quibi: Anyone will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content