Taking the new Propeller for a spin — Jun 6th 2008
For the last few months, the Propeller team has been hard at work on a major upgrade to our social news experience. As we near our community's two-year anniversary, I am pleased to announce that this work will soon be complete. We have a lot of exciting news to share! But first, I want to thank all of the great users who have helped our service to mature. We have learned a lot from you, and continue to appreciate your input and enthusiasm.
Now, back to the new site. In the coming weeks, we will post details about the new Propeller, along with screenshots of particular features. We want the new site to be easier, faster, and more fun to use. To accomplish these goals, we have completely rewritten the entire Propeller website and platform.
The first thing you will notice is our new look, complete with a mascot we call the Propeller Professor. With his fashionable beanie and goatee, this character's job is to aid navigation and participation by pointing out all of our new help resources. We also have a new logo and an entirely new user interface. All of this should make Propeller much easier to use, whether you're a longtime user or a curious newbie.
The geek in all of us will be happy to learn that our developers have changed the algorithm that calculates the ranking of each story on the site, making it smarter and more robust. Additionally, vast improvements to moderation tools will allow for swifter response times to user reports. Throw in an enhanced archival system and plenty of performance tweaks and you have a whole new experience for the community.
We wouldn't do all of this if we couldn't also make Propeller more fun. We're adding new features, such as the ability to form groups with like-minded users. We want conversations and friendships to flourish-if you're so inclined, create a group and have at it! We will also recommend stories and groups we think you might like. After all, why should you have to scroll through the whole site when we can bring the information right to your (figurative) doorstep? We will also phase in an awards system, which will recognize our most ardent users for their participation. If these features make Propeller more fun for you, then we've accomplished our goal.
As if that that weren't enough, the new platform also allows for a more seamless integration with AOL. With the new release, you'll be able to use your AOL Screen Name to establish a Propeller account, and to participate in Propeller content directly from sites like AOL News
. Find a great story? Post it to Propeller--and it could end up on the AOL.com homepage! That's right, in addition to Propeller, your story could be viewed by millions of AOL consumers who don't yet visit our own site on a daily basis.
We are very excited to launch this new experience. It is an upgrade we are extremely proud of, and we really hope you like it! Stay tuned for more details, and as always, let us know what you think.