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Curated.by Aims To Be The "Smithsonian Of The Web", But They Need Your Help

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Last night was interesting. I was sitting down to do some last-minute research for a post I was working on (this one) when news began to break that North Korea had just attacked South Korea. As usual, news was flowing through Twitter faster than any one source, but I needed a way to filter the noise. Oddly enough, the product I was writing about is perfect for that: Curated.by.

Using Curated.by’s extension, I began flagging tweets that I found to be most useful for the Korea situation. Then I checked the Curated.by site to see that someone else was already way ahead of me (in this case, co-founder Bastian Lehmann), so I started following his curation of the events. It was fascinating to watch a tool go from interesting to useful in seconds.

As its name and all of the above implies, Curated.by is a service that lets you quickly pick certain elements of the web to showcase in your own stream. Right now, this is largely based around Twitter, but the plan is that any type of content should be able to live inside a Curated.by stream. That’s the strategy Lehmann wants to employ to make his service the “Smithsonian of the web,” as he puts it.

Using an extension built for Google Chrome, Curated.by is able to augment twitter.com to add a new “Curate” button below each tweet. Clicking on this button allows you to add a tweet to any Curated.by bundle you’re in control of. (The button can also add a tweet to your Twitter Favorites.) These bundles are found on Curated.by’s site. They’re essentially human-filtered streams of information from Twitter and links from around the web (the links can be added by pasting a story URL on the bundle page). There’s also a bookmarklet for those not using Chrome.

These bundles can then be easily embedded elsewhere on the web, such as in a blog post, to give people an easy-to-follow overview of a topic. In this regard, Curated.by is similar to a company that launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in September, Storify.

But a big part of Curated.by’s idea is also using algorithms to surface topics that you’re interested in. Or, to stick with the Smithsonian analogy, “an algorithm that shows you which painting people are going to stand in front of the longest at a museum,” Lehmann says. And the idea is to let multiple people collaborate on the same bundle to make it the most complete on any given topic.

Today marks the beta launch of Curated.by, which Lehmann says already contains over 1,600 topics and over 25,000 curated links and tweets. The service was one of the initial eight chosen to launch out of AngelPad, a new startup incubator in San Francisco. They formally unveiled their plan at the AngelPad demo day a couple weeks ago.

And the company is already thinking about the business model as they’re preparing a private domain-wide enterprise version of the software to facilitate sharing without a company network. Companies are encouraged to sign up early here.

The company currently has just two people right now (Lehmann and co-founder Sam Street), and have taken just a small seed round of funding from AngelPad.

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