Twitter tests Lists feature to group tweets

Company aims to help you sort out friends and family tweets from colleagues

Twitter Inc. is trying out a new feature designed to make it easier for users to group the people they follow by organizing them into lists.

Nick Kallen, manager of Twitter's Lists project, said in a blog post Wednesday night that the company is testing the new feature (see image, below) with a small subset of users. The Lists could organize the people you follow into groups of, say, friends, colleagues, industry luminaries and celebrities.

While the lists can be made private, Kallen said they're public by default, allowing other users to subscribe to any of your lists that they're interested in.

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

"We started working on this feature because of the frequent requests we received from people who were looking for a better way to organize information on Twitter. Of course, that means not just twitter.com," he wrote. "The Platform team will follow up in a few days with information on the Lists API. This will allow developers to add support for Lists into your favorite Twitter apps."

Kallen did not say how large the group of testers is for the Lists preview.

Twitter has been busy building out its popular microblogging service. In August, it announced that it was developing the ability to track tweets by location .

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said the company is working on a new API designed to enable developers to add the ability to include the latitude and longitude of a Twitterer's location. The feature will let users switch from reading tweets from certain people to those from a specific geographic area.

This kind of site development is a good thing for Twitter because it's facing growing competition from the likes of the social networking giant Facebook and behemoth Google Inc., which just released into testing its own comprehensive social networking tool, Google Wave .

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