The Washington Post this week launched Personal Post, a news aggregator that suggests Post stories based on a user’s browsing habits on washingtonpost.com.
It uses the technology that powers Trove, an aggregator that was built by the paper last year. Trove aggregates headlines from around the Web, and not just washingtonpost.com.
My initial suggestions upon loading Personal Post up for the first time were accurate for someone like me who lives in the Washington area and happens to work in the political media: Post Local, Crime, PostPolitics, Opinions, and Erik Wemple (a media critic at the Post).
New members of washingtonpost.com, according to TechCrunch, can choose from a number of suggested “starter streams,” including National Pulse, Washington Life, and Sports Nut.
This is not the Post‘s first foray into personalized news delivery. In the middle of the last decade, they launched mywashingtonpost.com, which provided the ability to customize someone’s washingtonpost.com experience. The project was later killed.
But Personal Post is different. It’s a member of the next generation of personalized news delivery, which relies on artificial intelligence, based on a user’s washingtonpost.com browsing habits, to make suggestions.
Personalized news aggregators, done well, have lots of potential. Zite, a popular iOS app that aggregates headlines from around the Web, is so successful that it was recently acquired by CNN.
As a frequent washingtonpost.com visitor, I have one main suggestion for this and any other aggregator that’s similar to it: Incorporate the social layer. As someone who gets a large portion of his news from social media, seeing which Post links I share via Twitter and Facebook (including the Washington Post Social Reader App) would greatly enhance the experience.