Twitter for iOS updated to highlight trends

Ronny Kerr · March 3, 2011 · Short URL:

Quick Bar for prominently displaying trends, easier photo uploading, follow your friends, bug fixes

Twitter announced Thursday new updates for its iOS apps, including improved methods for uploading photos and following trends.
All of the following features are immediately available for Twitter on iPad and iPhone:
Quick Bar: The biggest update here now displays trends right at the top of the timeline. Swipe left or right to cycle through trends. As a result of this update, Twitter can more easily display Promoted Trends to mobile users (can you say monetization in 2011?). This update comes to Twitter for iPhone only.
Photos: When wishing to add a photo to a tweet, users now need only click a clearly visible camera icon in the toolbar, which opens up options for taking a new picture or choosing one from the photo library. Users could already add photos to tweets in previous versions of Twitter for iPhone, but this update makes the feature more obvious. (In fact, a few other features that were previously hidden--like usernames for mentions, hashtags and geotagging--are now displayed in the toolbar.)
Follow your friends: Find more people to follow by searching Twitter for contacts stored on your phone.
Local trends: See location-based trends. Previously, users could only see global trends.
Shorten links: This is another one of those features that was already available on old versions of Twitter for iPhone, if you knew where to look. Now the app will shorten your lengthy URLs automatically.
Tweet box design: Now photos, geotagging and other features are more clearly displayed.

Autocomplete: When typing @ or # for mentions or hashtags, the app will autocomplete with the name or word you’re looking for.

Direct Messages: Direct Messages have been streamlined to look more like conversations.

Cleaned up preferences and bug fixes: Enough said.

Twitter for iPhone is the third most popular way to access the service, after and, according to the company. And Twitter for iPad is (surprise, surprise) the most popular way people connect to the site on Apple’s tablet.

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.