The Guardian rolls out @GuardianTagBot (it’s not SIRI)

The Guardian has rolled out @GuardianTagBot – a Twitter account that users can ‘tweet’ to find out latest news about any given subject

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We live in a world of instant gratification, where content on demand is the norm and anything less is unacceptable. It’s a privileged situation, but one we keep trying to improve.

Earlier this week we shared a post about SIRI – Apple’s new ‘personal assistant’ that lives inside the new iPhone 4S and responds to your voice commands by performing everyday tasks like setting alarms, checking the weather or searching the web. Perhaps the most recent example of a technology to make our hectic lives that little bit easier.

With the notion of robotic assistants freshly baked in our minds, we were interested to learn about a new Twitter-based service from The Guardian, which is, in a way, a similar concept.

@GuardianTagBot, as it’s named, is a Twitter account that users can ‘tweet’ to find out latest news about any given subject. For example, tweet “@GuardianTagBot latest Arsenal news?”, and it’ll fetch relevant tagged content stored within it’s API.

If you require more detailed content, you can include more tag words, such as “@GuardianTagBot latest Arsenal transfer news?”, for example.

Much like our friend SIRI, TagBot responds best to punchy queries, rather than full sentences. For example, “Middle East news” will translate better than, “what’s the latest situation in the Middle East?”. You also need to think about the words you’re using – if you ask for “Jordan news” – do you want news about Jordan the place, or Jordan the model, or whatever she is.

In response to your tweet, TagBot will tweet you back via a mention with a link to your search results page. Like this;


TagBot will struggle with personal requests like ‘Will you marry me?’.  As Nina Lovelace, content development manager at the Guardian Group, explained in her introductory post, “It’s not Siri.”.

TagBot is currently still in beta, so it’s a little rough around the edges, but all in all we think it’s a really intuitive way of using Twitter and  sure sign of the way things are heading. What do you think?

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