Since most of the news sites we read have signed up for Twitter accounts in recent months, we’ve all but stopped using our RSS reader to find news. Twitter is great for headlines, and because messages are instant, it’s a lot faster for finding breaking news than Google Reader.
The reason we’ve been able to do that is mostly because of one free tool: Twitterfeed, which takes RSS feeds and publishes them to Twitter accounts. With minimal competition, Twitterfeed has 170,000 users pumping out more than 300,000 feeds. And Twitterfeed-created tweets represent about 10% of all tweets on Twitter, by one account.
So it’s no surprise that NYC’s Betaworks investing/development group and TAG have acquired a majority stake in Twitterfeed. Under new ownership, Twitterfeed — which has been a spare-time side project until recently — will get a new infrastructure and new features, and could become a very valuable tool for Web publishers. (Betaworks is an investor in Twitter via Summize, the Twitter search engine it financed — which Twitter bought last year.)
What’s next for Twitterfeed? What you’d expect: Analytics, so you can know more about who’s doing what with your links, and faster, more reliable service. Today, we have to wait up to 30 minutes for our posts to feed automatically into our Twitter feed. In Twitter time, 30 minutes is too long.
We’re confident that Betaworks will be able to tackle these problems quickly. (Real-time feeds will be coming in about two months, we’re told.) A quick look at their other products — bit.ly, Chartbeat, etc. — show that analytics and real-time anything are two of their specialties.