Website Taste Predictor is a new Twitter tool that analyzes your Twitter account in order to recommend websites you would like. The project uses Twitter's OAuth authentication protocol to access your Twitter account so you don't have to enter in your username and password in order to try it out. How exactly it works, we can't say. There's no "about" page, "FAQ" or other explanation. In fact, there's not even a credit as to who made it, only a URL. But the URL is a big hint: it's hosted on the MIT.edu domain underneath the subheading ~peretti. And just who is ~peretti? Only the co-founder of the Huffington Post and the viral tracker BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti.The
New Twitter Tool From HuffPo and BuzzFeed Co-Founder?
Peretti is a graduate of the MIT Media Lab, has taught at NYU and the Parsons School of Design, consulted for major brands like Sony Pictures and Procter & Gamble and created several viral experiments like the Nike sweatshop email and FundRace.org. However, he's best known for co-founding BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, ContagiousMedia.org, and the Eyebeam Open Lab. So if this "Website Taste Predictor" is also his creation (we've contacted him to confirm), you know it's not going to be your run-of-the-mill Twitter tool.
For what it's worth, we're nearly 100% sure about Peretti's involvement. The tool is hosted under his account on MIT's servers, he tweeted about it back on April 7th and he responded personally to a comment about it over on Digg (the fact that this post never hit homepage it a testament to all that is going wrong over there). However, while these clues seem to point to Peretti as the creator, you can never be too sure. We'll wait for an official word and will update accordingly.
Website Taste Predictor in Action
So what does the Taste Predictor actually do? Well, it doesn't just parse your Twitter history to spit back a list of links you've tweeted. That would be too easy.
It appears to delve deeper than that to function as a true recommendation engine. Whether it looks at keywords, follower lists or sites related to those you post links to, we can't be sure, but we do know this: the app gets it right on the money. And I mean downright scary right.
In my case, for example, the list returned included a large group of sites I read regularly consisting mainly tech-focused blogs and mainstream media sites plus a handful of sites I've been known to check out less often. What I don't know is how it figured out that I've been known to gaze at the occasional lolcat, fail photo, web comic or celebrity gossip post when my brain needed a break from all this tech. I certainly never tweeted about those things nor do I follow people who do. So how did it know?
More importantly, though, the tool actually pointed me to a few sites that I really should be reading more often like the image-heavy online paper Newser, the op-ed content network True/Slant and mobile app analytics site Localytics whose blog I just subscribed to.
In other words, the Website Taste Predictor is accurate and useful, or, as Peretti recently tweeted himself: "I think this is the kind of awesome new Twitter App @FredWilson was talking about!"