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Twitter media galore: enhanced photos, search

Add photos right from Twitter.com natively, search and find media, search from Firefox address bar

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
June 1, 2011
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/1b11

Twitter announced Wednesday that it is rolling out a native photo-sharing experience, confirming reports from earlier in the week.

Sometime “over the next several weeks,” users will be able to upload a photo and attach it to a tweet directly from Twitter.com. Naturally, the feature will be rolled out to Twitter’s mobile and desktop clients as well. The company says it’s working with international carriers to let users without smartphones upload photos over MMS.



 

In truth, the really interesting part of Twitter’s announcement has less to do with uploading photos and more to do with how the site is letting users interact with that constantly flowing sea of media. Starting today, any search that returns tweets with attached images will display “top images” in the sidebar. (Screenshots above and below.) Clicking “view all” pulls up a nice and elegant photo viewer.

The feature works for videos as well.

Users will likely enjoy the benefits of this improved search feature immediately, as it mends one of Twitter’s most glaring problems. The site is home to massive amounts of content, mostly in the form of 140 character tweets, but also in terms of rich media like photos and videos. Now, we’ll actually have an easier way to access more of that media, even if we don’t see it right in our timeline.

Once again, however, the new features mark Twitter’s movement into territory previously occupied by third-party developers. Even on Twitter for iPhone or iPad, the company’s official iOS apps, users could already add photos to tweets. But until now, users were using third-party apps like Twitpic and yfrog, among a bunch of less popular options.

Onstage at D9, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said the goal of the new feature is to “remove friction” from the site’s multimedia experience. Additionally, users can rest assured that they “will own their own rights to their photos,” which are to be hosted on Photobucket.

As for third-party photo services that feel slighted or overshadowed by Twitter’s new feature, Costolo flatly suggests that they “move up the value chain.”

Finally, Twitter today also released a Mozilla Firefox add-on that makes searching Twitter a breeze. You can type “@kerrronny” into the address bar to go straight to that account, or “#vatorsplash” to search for that topic.

Oh, and if you’re not sick of Twitter yet, here are some juicy statistics revealed by Costolo, who says that no third party measures Twitter accurately:

  • 13 billion API requests a day
  • Mobile usage up 150 percent since beginning of year
  • Site reached first billion tweets in three years, but now it’s doing a billion every six days
  • 600,000 developers have downloaded 900,000 API keys
  • SMS still matters: In Haiti, 95 percent of Twitter usage is via SMS
  • Over 80 percent of advertisers renew their campaigns
  • Volvo’s ad had 50 percent engagement rate
  • Ended up with 150 advertisers at the end of 2010, now up to 600
  • “Only” 500 people work at Twitter


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