Updates to Twitter and New Policies

New things are always happening here at Twitter HQ. We’re growing at a rapid pace, and our commitment to simplicity, transparency, and reaching every person on the planet continues. We thought you might be interested in knowing about some of our most recent developments:
  • A new weekly email that delivers the most interesting news and items you might have missed from the people you’re connected to on Twitter.
  • Now Twitter is in more languages than ever. Check for your preferred language and change your setting.
  • Download the latest Twitter mobile apps at twitter.com/download.
  • There’s more to Discover on Twitter.com – try out the new Discover tab.
In addition, we’ve made a number of updates to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
Here are some of the main changes to our Privacy Policy, with links for more information:
  • We’ve provided more details about the information we collect and how we use it to deliver our services and to improve Twitter. One example: our new tailored suggestions feature, which is based on your recent visits to websites that integrate Twitter buttons or widgets, is an experiment that we’re beginning to roll out to some users in a number of countries. Learn more here.
  • We’ve noted the many ways you can set your preferences to limit, modify or remove the information we collect. For example, we now support the Do Not Track (DNT) browser setting, which stops the collection of information used for tailored suggestions.
  • We’ve clarified the limited circumstances in which your information may be shared with others (for example, when you’ve given us permission to do so, or when the data itself is not private or personal). Importantly, our privacy policy is not intended to limit your rights to object to a third party’s request for your information.
In our Terms of Service, we’ve clarified how your relationship with Twitter works and made a number of small changes and formatting improvements, such as new headings for easy reference and updated descriptions of our services.
Take a moment to read our new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, and thanks for using Twitter.
The Twitter Team

The New Twitter Platform

In a Blog Post Twitter Described about its New Platform.

Enduring Value

When we discuss the future of Twitter, we focus on the mechanisms through which we can build a platform of enduring value. The three mechanisms most important to building such a platform are architecting for extensibility, providing a robust API to the platform’s functionality, and ensuring the long-term health and value of the user experience.

The purpose of this post is to explain what we are building, how we will sustain the company and ecosystem, and where we believe there will be great opportunities for the vast ecosystem of partners.

Twitter is an open, real-time introduction and information service. On a daily basis we introduce millions to interesting people, trends, content, URLs, organizations, lists, companies, products and services. These introductions result in the formation of a dynamic real-time interest graph. At any given moment, the vast network of connections on Twitter paints a picture of a universe of interests. We follow those people, organizations, services, and other users that interest us, and in turn, others follow us.

To foster this real-time open information platform, we provide a short-format publish/subscribe network and access points to that network such as www.twitter.com, m.twitter.com and several Twitter-branded mobile clients for iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android devices. We also provide a complete API into the functions of the network so that others may create access points. We manage the integrity and relevance of the content in the network in the form of the timeline and we will continue to spend a great deal of time and money fostering user delight and satisfaction. Finally, we are responsible for the extensibility of the network to enable innovations that range from Annotations and Geo-Location to headers that can route support tickets for companies. There are over 100,000 applications leveraging the Twitter API, and we expect that to grow significantly with the expansion of the platform via Annotations in the coming months.

Our responsibilities extend from there. Twitter is responsible for the health, reliability, and scale of the network, Twitter-branded endpoints (SMS, a twitter client on the web and other most popular platforms, Twitter-branded widgets), a consistent user experience, and a sustaining revenue model for the platform. We will provide the best possible experience for each of these.

Ecosystem Clarity

We heard loud and clear at our Chirp Developer Conference last month that developers desire clarity—clarity about what we believe Twitter must provide, what Twitter looks to the ecosystem to provide, and where the lines, if any, are drawn. We have outlined above the services and responsibilities we will provide in the context of the platform. In order to provide further clarity to the ecosystem, we will also be specific about the boundaries we will draw in order to preserve the integrity, health, and value of the network.

We now employ over 200 people, and we plan to grow this investment as the opportunity demands. To sustain this investment, we have announced Promoted Tweets. These tweets will exist primarily in search and then in the timeline, but in a manner that preserves the integrity and relevance of the timeline. As we have announced, we will use innovative metrics like Resonance so that Promoted Tweets are only shown when they make sense for users and enhance the user experience.

As our primary concern is the long-term health and value of the network, we have and will continue to forgo near-term revenue opportunities in the service of carefully metering the impact of Promoted Tweets on the user experience. It is critical that the core experience of real-time introductions and information is protected for the user and with an eye toward long-term success for all advertisers, users and the Twitter ecosystem. For this reason, aside from Promoted Tweets, we will not allow any third party to inject paid tweets into a timeline on any service that leverages the Twitter API. We are updating our Terms of Service to articulate clearly what we mean by this statement, and we encourage you to read the updated API Terms of Service to be released shortly.

Why are we prohibiting these kinds of ads? First, third party ad networks are not necessarily looking to preserve the unique user experience Twitter has created. They may optimize for either market share or short-term revenue at the expense of the long-term health of the Twitter platform. For example, a third party ad network may seek to maximize ad impressions and click through rates even if it leads to a net decrease in Twitter use due to user dissatisfaction.

Secondly, the basis for building a lasting advertising network that benefits users should be innovation, not near-term monetization. Twitter is uniquely dependent on and responsible for the long-term health and value of the platform. Accordingly, a necessary focus of Promoted Tweets is to explore ways to create value for our users. Third party ad networks may be optimized for near-term monetization at the expense of innovating or creating the best user experience. We believe it is our responsibility to encourage creative product development and to curb practices that compromise innovation.

It is important to keep in mind that Twitter bears all the costs of maintaining the network, protecting the Tweet stream against spam, supporting user requests, and scaling the service. Indeed, Twitter will bear many of the support costs associated with any third-party paid Tweets, as Twitter receives support emails related to anything a user sees in a tweet stream. The third-party bears few of these costs by comparison.

Fostering Innovation

There has never been more opportunity for innovation on the Twitter platform than there is now. In order to continue to provide clarity, our guiding principles include:

1. We don’t seek to control what users tweet. And users own their own tweets.

2. We believe there are opportunities to sell ads, build vertical applications, provide breakthrough analytics, and more. Companies are selling real-time display ads or other kinds of mobile ads around the timelines on many Twitter clients, and we derive no explicit value from those ads. That’s fine. We imagine there will be all sorts of other third-party monetization engines that crop up in the vicinity of the timeline.

3. We don’t believe we always need to participate in the myriad ways in which other companies monetize the network.

Platforms evolve. When Annotations ship, there are going to be many new business opportunities on the Twitter platform in addition to those currently available. We know that companies and entrepreneurs will create things with Annotations that we couldn’t have imagined. Companies will emerge that provide all manner of rich data and meta-data services around and in Tweets. Twitter clients could begin to differentiate on their ability to service different data-rich verticals like Finance or Entertainment. Media companies in the ecosystem can begin to incorporate rich tagging capabilities. Much has been written about the opportunities afforded by Annotations because those that understand the benefits of extensible architectures understand their power and potential.

We understand that for a few of these companies, the new Terms of Service prohibit activities in which they’ve invested time and money. We will continue to move as quickly as we can to deliver the Annotations capability to the market so that developers everywhere can create innovative new business solutions on the growing Twitter platform.

We hope that this clarity of purpose, focus, and roadmap helps point a clear way forward for the thousands of companies in the Twitter ecosystem.

Posted by @dickc at 8:05 AM

TweetyMail: Tweet via email


A third-party Twitter client these days you have to do something that really sets yourself apart. After all, there are no shortage of Twitter clients — and there’s no guarantee that Twitter itself won’t come out with features that eliminate the need to use your client. TweetyMail is a new client that’s a bit different, and Twitter itself is not likely to take it on anytime soon.

TweetyMail is Twitter over email. Yes, it’s that simple. Imagine never having to go to a Twitter client at all. If you want a list of the newest tweets from the people you follow, you just shoot off an email and back a new one comes with the tweets. If you want to tweet yourself, you just shoot off another email. Maybe you want to follow someone? Another email. Retweet? You get the picture.


This works because each Twitter action has a different TweetyMail email address. So if I want to unfollow a user, for example, I would simple email that username to unfollow@tweetymail.com. If I want to send a DM to a user, I would send an email to message@tweetymail.com. And so on.

Obviously, for this to work, you need to link up an email account you control to TweetyMail. But once you do that and verify it’s actually your address, you’re good to go. And you can hook up multiple addresses.


And there’s another benefit to using TweetyMail: improved follower and DM notifications. This is slightly more complicated to set up as TweetyMail gives you a special address that you then have to enter as your main email address on Twitter.com (this is where they figure out which email to send your notifications to). In TweetyMail’s new follower notification email you get things such as one-click follow, a full bio, and most recent tweets. It’s much better than what Twitter itself gives you.

With TweetyMail you can also easily set up alerts for tweets from a certain user, search terms, or mentions. All of these will be sent to your email address until you turn them off.


So yes, with TweetyMail you can completely bypass the need to go to Twitter.com (or any other Twitter client) ever again. TweetyMail currently has all features available for free during its initial testing phase. Eventually, the plan is to charge for some of the features (listed here) and to remove ads. If you’re addicted to email, and live in Gmail all day, this may be worth it for you.

Twitter launched a new tool to easily embed tweets into a website or blog post

Twitter has launched its new tool that allows you to easily embed tweets into a website or blog post. The tool, called Blackbird Pie, is a website that simply asks you for the URL of a tweet. Once you copy that in and hit “Bake it,” you get back a preview of how it will look on the web, and a box with the code you need in it.


A few nice things about the tool: 1) it picks up the styling of your own site. “Note that when you paste it into your site, the tweet will pick up some of your styling, e.g. the font-family you use on your tags. That’s intentional!,” Twitter writes (noting that it may change this). 2) It also copies over whatever background a person uses on Twitter. So in that regard, it is just like taking a screen grab. 3) The embeddable tweets actually look nicer than the one Twitter previewed yesterday on its media site.

While the embed code is a mess of inline elements right now, they promise shorter code is coming. They’re also asking that bug reports be tweeted at @twittermedia.


Twitter Buys Cloudhopper To Boost SMS Service

In a blog post published just minutes ago, Twitter has announced another snack-sized acquisition.

Twitter was inspired by SMS and we continue to embrace this simple but ubiquitous technology. In fact, Twitter’s 140 character limit was designed specifically to allow for any tweet to be read in its entirety whether you’re using a rudimentary mobile phone, or a more sophisticated Internet enabled device.

Over the last eight months we have been working with a startup called Cloudhopper to become one of the highest volume SMS programs in the world—Twitter processes close to a billion SMS tweets per month and that number is growing around the world from Indonesia to Australia, the UK, the US, and beyond.

To help us further grow and scale our SMS service, we are happy to announce the acquisition of Cloudhopper, a messaging infrastructure company that enables Twitter to connect directly to mobile carrier networks in countries all over the planet. Please join us in welcoming both Joe and Kristin to Twitter’s mobile team.

Twitter To Launch Its Own Link Shortener

Now its time to say bye to Bit.ly on Twitter.

It is not clear how the new feature will affect bit.ly, the third-party link shortener Twitter currently uses as its default, but it sounds like that may change soon. Clues to just such a change have appeared recently. Twitter investor Fred Wilson singled out link shorteners in a post urging Twitter developers to stop filling holes in Twitter’s product.

Twitter already owns its own short URL, twt.tl, which it uses as an anti-spam mechanism in direct messages. But it also owns Twee.tt, which is more in keeping with its brand since it already uses Tweet throughout its product.

Williams did not address bit.ly’s status specifically, so maybe it will continue to have a role. It certainly grew on the back of Twitter. But even if it is no longer used on Twitter.com, Twitter clients may still continue to use bit.ly. If it proves to be a more useful shortener, especially to brands such as Amazon, the New York Times, and others via bit.ly Pro, it may have enough momentum to survive being delisted, as it were, from Twitter.

Google Follow Finder A new feature to expand your Twitter

This morning Google announced a replay feature in real-time search that helps you search the public archive of updates from Twitter. Now, we have more Twitter news from today’s Chirp Conference. Google just released a new experimental service in Google Labs called Google Follow Finder to help you expand your Twitter network. With Google Follow Finder, simply enter your Twitter account name and you’ll see a list of people you might be interested in following. You can also get interesting suggestions by entering other Twitter user names. Here’s what it looks like:

If you see someone you want to follow, just click “Follow on Twitter,” log in, and they’ll be added to your following list in Twitter. This integration is based on Twitter’s new @anywhere frameworks, which make it easy for any site to add Twitter functionality. We’re using the frameworks to provide dynamic information about Twitter accounts and one-click following.

The lists in Google Follow Finder are generated using public following and follower lists on Twitter. For example, if you follow CNN and the New York Times on Twitter, and most people who follow CNN and the New York Times also tend to follow TIME, we’ll suggest TIME as a “Tweep you might like.” The list of “Tweeps with similar followers” is simply a list of accounts with similar follower lists to yours.

We hope you find some sweet tweeps.

Timeline restricted to Twitter messages for Google Real-Time Search

Google’s real-time search results have been enhanced with a timeline restricted to Twitter messages.

“The first page will show you the familiar latest and greatest short-form updates from a comprehensive set of sources, but now there’s a new chart at the top. The chart shows the relative volume of activity on Twitter about the topic,” explains Google.

For now, Google’s timelines show Twitter messages posted since February 11, but Google promises that they will be extended to the entire Twitter archive. After all, Google paid Twitter to have access to the data.

Here are some examples of searches that show the timeline: [Toyota], [Android], [Shakespeare], [Happy new year].

In other Twitter-related news, Google Labs launched Follow Finder, a new service that recommends a list of Twitter users to follow. Google analyzed Twitter’s social graph and it’s able to recommend other Twitter users that are followed by people who follow the users you do.

Google Search to explore the public archive of tweets

Today, Google introduced a new feature to help you search and explore the public archive of tweets.

With the advent of blogs and micro-blogs, there’s a constant online conversation about breaking news, people and places — some famous and some local. Tweets and other short-form updates create a history of commentary that can provide valuable insights into what’s happened and how people have reacted. We want to give you a way to search across this information and make it useful.

Starting today, you can zoom to any point in time and “replay” what people were saying publicly about a topic on Twitter. To try it out, click “Show options” on the search results page, then select “Updates.” The first page will show you the familiar latest and greatest short-form updates from a comprehensive set of sources, but now there’s a new chart at the top. In that chart, you can select the year, month or day, or click any point to view the tweets from that specific time period. Here we’ve searched for [golden gate park] and browsed to see March, 2010:

The chart shows the relative volume of activity on Twitter about the topic. As you can see, there are daily spikes in the afternoon (when parks are the most fun) and an unusually high spike on March 27. Clicking on the 27th, you’ll discover it was a sunny Saturday, which may explain the increased traffic on Twitter. People were tweeting about disc golf and tennis, biking, riding a party bus, craving chips and salsa…the kind of local, time-specific information that up until now would be almost impossible to find online.

By replaying tweets, you can explore any topic that people have discussed on Twitter. Want to know how the news broke about health care legislation in Congress, what people were saying about Justice Paul Stevens’ retirement or what people were tweeting during your own marathon run? These are the kinds of things you can explore with the new updates mode.

The replay feature is rolling out now and will be available globally in English within the next couple days (if you want to try it now, try out this special link). For our initial release, you can explore tweets going back to February 11, 2010, and soon you’ll be able to go back as far as the very first tweet on March 21, 2006.

All of us are just beginning to understand the many ways real-time information and short-form web content will be useful in the future, and we think being able to make use of historical information is an important part of that. As for me, after some hard work on real-time search, it’s time for a virtual vacation to relive one of my favorite moments of the Winter Games.

Posted by Dylan Casey, Product Manager for Real-Time Search