We’re always trying to improve italki, and we’ve recently made a few important changes. Here’s they are:

New Friend Relationships
We’re changing how friends are handled on italki to an asymmetrical system. You’re probably already familiar with this type of relationship through services like Twitter, Weibo, and Google Plus.

What this means that you can “follow” anyone’s updates. When the other person follows you back, then it’s just like the old “friends” or “language partners” relationship. When you’re both connected, you’ll be able to write messages and chat with each other.

We made this change to simplify our previous system, which had aspects of both symmetrical and asymmetrical systems. Don’t worry — all of your existing friends will automatically transition to the new system. We think the system, in particular, will benefit new users who may have a hard time getting connected with people.

Inbox Messages
We’ve also changed our inbox to be less like email, and more like a chat conversations. This should make it easier to pick up where you left off in your conversations. It should also help us transition to a more robust chat system in the future.

We hope these updates (and smaller ones we haven’t mentioned) will make italki easier and more fun for you to use. What we’ve learned is that italki is not a traditional social network, and language partners are not your typical “friends”. Your language partners on italki almost always start off as strangers. Moreover, language partners share a complementary interest. This is the basis for language exchanges, and the relationship between teachers and students for language teaching.

As always, we’re interested to hear what you think. Please send your ideas and suggestions to support@italki.com. We’re going to have more changes coming up, so stay in touch!

The italki Team

At italki, we’ve been spending some time on making small but important improvements to the site. For those of you that are also developing websites, you know how important it is to optimize and test your pages. Most of the changes will have already been noticed by our long-term users. We just wanted to mention a few of the important ones.

“Following” Users
One change we’re testing right now is to allow users to “follow” each other. For those users that are familiar with twitter.com or 新浪微薄, this is a pretty simple concept. If you see a user that you’re interested in, you can “follow” their public updates on your main home page. Specifically, the follow feature will show updates for asking / answering questions, writing / correcting notebooks, and posting in groups.

We think this feature is really helpful for new users who have just arrived on italki and don’t have many friends. It’s a quick way to get involved in discussions, and see how other users are learning on the site.

Finally, don’t worry about about your existing friends. You will automatically follow them, in addition to your teachers and your students (if you have them). As with before, features like online chatting, sending private messages, and the blackboard will all be based on “friend” relationships and your privacy settings.

Other Improvements

We’ve also tried to make it easier to see important features on the site. Many users still don’t know that you can find an online tutor or teacher on italki. Our teachers have also asked us for more help on promoting them to potential students. We’ll be continuing to test small improvements like this to help students and teachers get the most out of italki.

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As always, please send your suggestions to feedback at italki dot com. We’re always interested to hear what you think we can do to improve the site!

Best wishes for learning a language,

The italki team

We’re writing to let you know we’ve been changing italki.com to make it easier for you to learn a language and make friends around the world. If you haven’t been on italki for a while, you have to see what’s changed.

Improved Layout

We reorganized the website to make it easier to see and respond to what your italki friends are doing. We’ve also restructured the user profiles to make it easier for other italki users to help you with answering your questions, correcting your notebook, and replying to your group posts. We think you’ll find the new site easier to use, friendlier, and more useful for learning a language. There are too many improvements to list here, so login to italki and see the changes for yourself!

New Features – Notebook

We’ve mentioned a few weeks ago that we now have the Notebook, which is where you can practice and improve your writing skills. You can get corrections from other italki users, as well as correct other people’s writings. We hope you’ll take the opportunity to help others, as well as share information about your culture.

Improved Marketplace

If you’re looking for a teacher or a language product, you should take a look at our improved marketplace. If you think learning a language is expensive or if you just need extra help, you should definitely try an italki teacher, or check out language products like SpeakENG. We’ll be releasing even more improvements in this area soon.

Other tips

One tip we’d like to mention is that for users that are experiencing slowness on italki, we now have the ability to turn off the chat. For some users, this may dramatically improve the speed of the site.

We have even more changes coming, and please keep your feedback coming as well. We hope you like the new site (and tell your friends!). We’re doing our best to make italki a great place to learn a language and make friends around the world.

The italki Team


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Have you ever wanted to write something and get help correcting it?
Now you can write a short post in your Notebook, and get other italki members to correct and comment on it.

Many of our users have been suggesting we create a feature like this for some time. One thing that we like about this idea is how you can use your notebook in a variety of ways. You can use it as a learning tool for writing — post a short essay or something you want help with. (Some of our users have already been using the answers section for this.) This can also be used as a way of expressing yourself (like a blog) or for taking notes about things that you’ve learned about a language.

When you view someone else’s notebook, you’ll be able to correct and comment on it. When you correct an entry, there will be a copy of the original text, and you’ll have HTML formatting tools like strikethrough and colors to help you point out errors and what are your comments.  If you’re just interested in giving an opinion, you can just leave a comment.

We hope you try using the Notebook (try writing a notebook entry right now!). If you’re a bit shy, you can at least help other users by correcting or commenting on their writings. It’s a great way to connect with other users.

Let us know your thoughts about how we can improve this feature, as well as other features that you’d like to see on italki. Let us know through feedback.

This is part of our planned improvements to italki. There will be more changes coming very soon, so please keep sending us your feedback and checking back here at the blog!

The italki team

New User Home Page

April 7th, 2010 | Posted by Kevin in feature - (0 Comments)

We just wanted to let you know that we’re planning to revise many features at italki in the coming weeks. Last year we were busy making improvements on the italki marketplace, and now we’re working on improvements on the social network. We hope that these changes will help make it easier for you (our users) to interact with your italki friends, as well as other language learners who could use your help.

Our first change is the user homepage.

We’ve shifted towards using an Updates section, which is more similar to a newsfeed of what you and your italki friends are doing. You’ll be able to quickly see your friends’ recent activity, as well as see responses to questions or group discussions that you’ve started.

We’ve also created a Recommendations box which shows you things like questions that you might be able to answer, interesting group discussions, recommendations of language partners, and more. You can control what you see for your recommendations in the settings area.

We have a lot more site improvements coming. As always, please keep sending us your ideas and feedback. We do read all of your feedback, and please just be patient if your suggestion hasn’t been implemented yet. As we hear other users make the same requests, it definitely tells us what we need to focus on!

Finally, keep paying attention to the site and the blog. We have more improvements coming soon!

The italki team