Sparks are topics that a Google+ user designates an interest in. Google uses sharing activity, +1 recommendations and search algorithms to offer personalized content for each spark.
Sparks don’t just tell you what your friends have read, they tell you what you ought to read. It’s a serendipity engine, and if executed well it could make Google+ an addictive source of news discovery.
But right now, it’s a great idea with imperfect execution. There are three missing pieces preventing Google+ from becoming an influential driver of news consumption. All three are within its reach:
- Following and interacting with institutions
- Filtering ‘sparks’ news by sources
- Improved semantic recognition of sparks phrases