Amazon Spark, the retailer’s two-year-old Instagram competitor, has shut down

Amazon’s two-year-old Instagram competitor, Amazon Spark, is no more.

Hoping to capitalize on the social shopping trend and tap into the power of online influencers, Amazon in 2017 launched its own take on Instagram with a shoppable feed of stories and photos aimed at Prime members. The experiment known as Amazon Spark has now come to an end. However, the learnings from Spark and Amazon’s discovery tool Interesting Finds are being blended into a new social-inspired product, #FindItOnAmazon.

Amazon Spark had been a fairly bland service, if truth be told. Unlike on Instagram, where people follow their friend, interests, brands like they like, and people they find engaging or inspiring, Spark was focused on the shopping and the sale. While it tried to mock the Instagram aesthetic at times with fashion inspiration images or highly posed travel photos, it lacked Instagram’s broader appeal. Your friends weren’t there and there weren’t any Instagram Stories, for example. Everything felt too transactional.

Amazon declined to comment on the apparent shutdown of Spark, but the service is gone from the website and app.

The URL amazon.com/spark, meanwhile, redirects to the new #FoundItOnAmazon site — a site which also greatly resembles another Amazon product discovery tool, Interesting Finds.

Interesting Finds has been around since 2016, offering consumers a way to browse an almost Pinterest-like board of products across a number of categories. It features curated “shops” focused on niche themes, like a “Daily Carry” shop for toteable items, a “Mid Century” shop filled with furniture and décor, a shop for “Star Wars” fans, one for someone who loves the color pink, and so on. Interesting Finds later added a layer of personalization with the introduction of a My Mix shop filled with recommendations tailored to your interactions and likes.

The Interesting Finds site had a modern, clean look-and-feel that made it a more pleasurable way to browse Amazon’s products. Products photos appeared on white backgrounds while the clutter of a traditional product detail page was removed.

We understand from people familiar with the products that Interesting Finds is not shutting down as Spark has. But the new #FoundItOnAmazon site will take inspiration from what worked with Interesting Finds and Spark to turn it into a new shopping discovery tool.

Interesting Finds covers a wide range of categories, but #FoundItOnAmazon will focus more directly on fashion and home décor. Similar to Interesting Finds, you can heart to favorites items and revisit them later.

The #FoundItOnAmazon site is very new and isn’t currently appearing for all Amazon customers at this time. If you have it, the amazon.com/spark URL will take you there.

Though Amazon won’t talk about why its Instagram experiment is ending, it’s not too hard to make some guesses. Beyond its lack of originality and transactional nature, Instagram itself has grown into a far more formidable competitor since Spark first launched.

Last fall, Instagram fully embraced its shoppable nature with the introduction of shopping features across its app that let people more easily discover products from Instagram photos. It also added a new shopping channel and in March, Instagram launched its own in-app checkout option to turn product inspiration into actual conversions. It was certainly a big move into Amazon territory. And while that led to headlines about Instagram as the future of shopping, it’s not going to upset Amazon’s overall dominance any time soon.

In addition to the shifting competitive landscape, Spark’s primary stakeholder, Amazon VP of Consumer Engagement Chee Chew departed at the beginning of 2019 for Twilio. While at Amazon, Chew was heavily invested in Spark’s success and product managers would even tie their own efforts to Spark in order to win his favor, sources said.

For example, Amazon’s notifications section had been changed to include updates from Spark. And Spark used to sit a swipe away from the main navigation menu on mobile.

Following Spark’s closure, Amazon’s navigation has once again been simplified. It’s now a clutter-free hamburger menu. Meanwhile, Amazon’s notifications section no longer includes Spark updates — only alerts about orders, shipments, and personalized recommendations.

In addition, it’s likely that Spark wasn’t well adopted. Just 10,000 Amazon customers used it during its first 24 hours, we heard. With Chew’s departure, Spark lost its driving force. No one needed to curry favor by paying it attention, which may have also helped contribute to its shuttering.

6/14/19, 10:20 PM ET: Updated with further context after publication.

Walmart Grocery is now offering a $98 per year ‘Delivery Unlimited’ subscription

Walmart is taking aim at Instacart, Target’s Shipt, and Amazon Prime Now/Whole Foods with a new grocery delivery subscription service called simply, “Delivery Unlimited.” Before, Walmart shoppers could order groceries online and pick them up at their local store for free or they could opt to pay the $9.95 (or sometimes less) per-order delivery fee. Delivery Unlimited is a third option that offers consumers a way to skip the per-order fee in favor of a monthly or annual subscription.

Currently, the retailer is offering a $12.95 per month plan or a $98 per year subscription, both of which include a 15-day trial period.  (See below)

Everything else about the service is the same.

You’ll still shop online or in the Walmart Grocery app, build a basket, and pick a time slot for your order. There aren’t any restrictions on delivery times, either. It’s just another way to pay for your online orders — and one that could potentially save you money if you order groceries online from Walmart more than once per month.

At $98 per year, Walmart’s Delivery Unlimited service is competitively priced.

Shipt today charges $99 annually, and Target just this week announced a way for Shipt shoppers to pay a per-order fee of $9.99 for the first time, with a Shipt integration on Target.com. Instacart, meanwhile, cut its annual fee to $99 in November. Prime Now is the most expensive option at $119 per year. But of course, it includes more than just grocery delivery — Prime is a comprehensive benefits program that includes fast shipping from Amazon.com, access to streaming services, free e-books, and more.

It’s unclear how broadly available Delivery Unlimited is today. The FAQ on Walmart’s website only vaguely answers a question about availability, saying that “there’s a good chance Delivery Unlimited is in your area.” 

Okay!

The service is also mentioned in an Instagram post from March published by the account belonging to a single Walmart store in Utah, which is likely one of the earlier test markets.

We reached out to Walmart for details, but the retailer yet to respond to questions about the Delivery Unlimited service, or clarify how long it’s been around.

The official Walmart Grocery FAQ makes no mention of a subscription option at this time, and there’s been no formal announcement.

Unlike some grocery delivery businesses, Walmart doesn’t operate its own network of delivery professionals or independent contractors. Instead, Walmart partners with delivery providers across the U.S., including Point Pickup, Skipcart, AxleHire, Roadie, Postmates, and DoorDash. It has also tried then ended relationships with Deliv, Uber, and Lyft.

Walmart’s heavy investments in online grocery have boosted its bottom line. Grocery, along with the growth taking place across the home and fashion categories, have helped the retailer grow its e-commerce sales. In the first quarter, e-commerce sale were up 37%, Walmart said, with earnings per share of $1.13 versus $1.02 expected, and revenue of $123.93 billion above the $125.03 billion estimated.

The retailer currently offers grocery pickup at 2,450 locations and delivery at nearly 1,000 locations. It says it’s on track to offer pickup at 3,100 stores and delivery at 1,600 by the end of 2019.

 

 

Alexa’s voice apps for kids can now offer purchases that parents approve

Amazon will now allow developers to offer premium content for purchase in Alexa skills aimed at children. The company on Friday introduced new tools for building skills with in-app purchases that requires the Amazon account holder — typically mom or dad — to approve or decline the requested purchase via a text or email.

In-skill purchasing was first introduced to all U.S. Alexa developers last year, and more recently became available to international developers. But like any app aimed at children, Alexa skills needed to offer a purchase approval workflow for those in its kids’ category, or it would risk unapproved purchases initiated by younger users.

That’s where these new developer tools come in.

Now, developers can create premium kid skills using either the Alexa Skills Kit Command-Line Interface (ASK CLI) or the Alexa Developer Console. Other tools allow the skills to route purchase requests to the account holder over SMS or email. The account holder then has 24 hours to act on the request, or the request is automatically canceled.

The premium content can come in the form of either one-time purchases or subscriptions, says Amazon.

A group of developers had early access to the tools and already added premium content to their own kid skills. This includes the grand prize winner from one of Amazon’s developer contests, Kids Court; plus You Choose Superman Adventures; Travel Quest; Animal Sounds; and Master Swords.

Parents who don’t want their kids asking to buy anything have two options to opt out of all this.

They can disable the feature in the Alexa app under Settings -> Alexa Account -> Voice Purchasing -> Kid Skills Purchasing. Meanwhile, FreeTime on Alexa customers, which comes with the Echo Dot Kids Edition, won’t receive offers to purchase premium content. And those who upgrade to FreeTime Unlimited will get much of this premium content included with their subscription.

The addition of premium purchases to kid skills comes at a challenging time for Amazon.

Amazon updated its Echo Dot for kids this week with new designs and other under-the-hood features, as new lawsuits over Alexa’s children’s privacy violations were filed. The suits say Amazon recorded children’s voices without consent.

As a part of its updated Echo Dot for kids experience, Amazon said it worked with the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and various industry groups to rebuild FreeTime on Alexa so that it adheres U.S. children’s privacy law, COPPA (the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act).

Amazon now restricts Alexa skills from accessing or collecting personal information from children and offers ways for parents to delete children’s voice recordings, it says.

But its changes to the Kids Edition Echo smart speaker and related feature set don’t fully address the plaintiffs’ allegations.

According to Amazon’s announcement this week, parents can now review and delete recordings through the Alexa app or the Alexa Privacy Hub, and they can contact Customer Service to request deletion of their child’s profile. However, the lawsuits said the way Amazon manages recordings — by asking parents to take manual action — is not ideal. They point out that Apple’s Siri only stores recordings for a short period of time and then automatically deletes them.

In addition, CNET found that Amazon may retain the text transcripts even when people delete the recordings themselves.

Privacy regulations take time to catch up to the pace of technology and today’s issues around how smart speakers should operate in family homes where children are present is another example of that problem. While parents are the ones buying and installing these devices, many weren’t aware that Alexa’s intelligence is aided not only by algorithms and AI, but by human beings on the other end who listen to recordings, check them for errors, then use this data to improve how Alexa works.

Of course, there are people who are less concerned about this sort of thing and just enjoy using the device regardless of its potential invasiveness. They may appreciate the ability to upgrade their skills and support favorite developers’ efforts, especially if the family enjoys the skills together or they feel they add value.

Amazon is not offering all developers the ability to sell through their kids skills at present. Instead, interested developers who want to build kid skills with purchases can fill out a form that tells Amazon about their plans and the company will reach out if the application is selected.

TikTok hit $9M in in-app purchases last month, up 500% over last year

Popular short-form video app TikTok has been slowly ramping up its advertising strategy this year as it increases its focus on monetization. However, the company still generates a smaller of its revenue from in-app purchases — and that number hit a high of $9 million in May, according to a report from Sensor Tower. That represents 500% year-over-year growth from the $1.5 million spent in May 2018, and 22% growth from April’s $7.4 million.

Arguably, TikTok’s hasn’t put much emphasis on its in-app purchase strategy. For now, the Beijing-based app owned by ByteDance is more heavily focused on driving user growth. It knows that putting some of its best features behind a paywall could potentially limit user adoption and engagement — especially as TikTok looks for growth in emerging markets like India, where it recently said it has 200 million users, 120 million who are monthly actives.

In India, the app overtook Facebook as the most downloaded social networking app in the first quarter of the year, and is now looking to pull in more advertisers. The Economic Times recently reported brands like Pepsi, Snapdeal, Myntra, Shaadi.com, and Shopclues have signed on to advertise.

Meanwhile, Indian users only accounted for half a percent of in-app purchases — just around $45,000, said Sensor Tower.

The lack of spending points to how little TikTok has focused on virtual goods. Instead of offering its video effects or filters for purchase, TikTok’s coins are used for buying gifts which can be sent to live streamers to show support.

Despite TikTok’s inattention to its virtual goods strategy, iOS users in China spent $5.9 million, of the total $9 million spent on in-app purchases in May, accounting for nearly 65% of purchases. In the U.S., both iOS and Android users spent a combined nearly $2 million, or 22%, of the app’s gross revenue.

TikTok’s installs are continuing to climb, Sensor Tower also noted.

In May, around 56 million users worldwide installed the app for the first time — a 27% increase over April. However, new installs were down by 21% from January’s 70.8 million. To some extent, India’s brief ban on the app impacted these figures — the app likely lost a potential 15 million new users in April, Sensor Tower had earlier estimated.

To date, TikTok has seen 1.2 billion installs, up from a billion at the end of last year. This figure doesn’t equate to active user numbers, however. On that front, TikTok said last summer it has 500 million monthly actives, and hasn’t publicly shared an updated number since. Life-to-date user spending is currently at $97.4 million, with the app expected to pass the $100 million milestone this month, the new report said.

Walmart’s Eko teams up with Refinery29 on interactive videos

Last fall, Walmart announced a joint venture with Eko to create interactive storytelling — think Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch — for both entertainment and retail. Since then, Eko has been working with BuzzFeed on a range of interactive videos, as well as on projects for Walmart’s Vudu and others for its own HelloEko.com video site. Today, Eko’s latest partner has been unveiled: millennial-focused digital media company, Refinery29.

According to Variety, which first reported the news, Eko will produce several series based on Refinery29’s content, starting with an interactive scripted project for the site’s “Money Diaries” personal finance column, podcast, and book. The online series saw 7 million uniques in 2018 and is one of Refinery29’s top properties, the report noted.

In the Eko videos, viewers will be able to make choices about how to manage and spend the character’s money. Other Eko-produced Refinery29 shows will include the unscripted travel series 60 Second Cities and another focused on women’s living spaces, Sweet Digs. 

The shows will debut on Refinery29’s website by year-end, and will be promoted across social media. Eko and Refinery29 will share in the advertising and sponsorship revenues the series generate.

Because Eko’s videos allow viewers to make choices, media companies can learn from what viewers click on to better tailor their content to the viewer’s interests. Videos can also become more personalized to the viewer’s individual needs — in BuzzFeed’s case, for example, a recipe video could show how to customize the dish for dietary restrictions. This same set of advantages will be translated to Refinery29’s properties, as well.

Walmart invested $250 million into its joint venture with Eko last fall, with the aim of developing all sorts of interactive content, from toy catalogs to cooking shows, Reuters noted at the time.

In addition to the BuzzFeed and Refinery29 series, Eko is working with Hollywood producers on its other projects, including the Duplass BrothersFine BrothersNora Kirkpatrick, and others, and plans to delve into fashion, beauty, and other scripted content in the future.

 

Spotify outage not related to today’s update, company is working on a fix

This morning, Spotify announced the rollout of a redesigned app for its Premium users. Now, the service is down. The streaming music provider is experiencing an outage today, according to reports from social media and various outage-tracking websites, including DownDetector. Spotify had failed to acknowledge the outage on its Spotify Status Twitter account, but the company has now confirmed the outage directly with TechCrunch.

Spotify’s Twitter customer support team is also responding to customers to let them know the company is aware of the problem and working on a fix.

Many of the impacted users appear to be complaining about their Spotify mobile app not working — something that led people to believe the outage is related to the app redesign that went live earlier today.

Spotify tells TechCrunch that’s not the case, however.

The company isn’t offering information about what is causing the issue, nor any other details, but says it’s working to bring the service back online.

According to Down Detector, Spotify began having issues as early as 8:22 AM ET. But its chart shows a clear spike later in the morning heading into the afternoon.

Its outage map shows a heavy concentration of reports in the U.S., but U.K. tabloid publications noted the outage is happening there, as well.

Meanwhile, the website Outage.Report claims to have received hundreds of reports of Spotify issues beginning around the same time of ~8:00 AM ET. Reports hail from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K. and 26 other countries, it says. A third service, IsItDownRightNow.com, also reports the Spotify.com website is currently unreachable.

We’ll update with more information as it becomes available.

Spotify’s redesign simplifies navigation and highlights podcasts

Spotify is officially rolling out its redesigned experience which puts a greater emphasis on podcasts. The company today announced a new version of its “Your Library” section is being rolled out now to paying subscribers on its Premium plan. Its goal is to make it easier to move between Music and Podcasts and find the podcast shows and episodes you want to hear.

The company in May previewed this news with select press while the redesign was in testing.

With the update, users will be able to swipe or tap to switch between music and podcasts, while the latter also features three sections for podcast management: Episodes, Downloads, and Shows.

The Episodes tab lets you seek out new episodes or resume the podcasts you’re already listening to, picking up where you left off. As you scroll down, you’ll find other newly released episodes from the shows you follow. In other words, the experience prioritizes your in-progress episodes over a strict chronological order.

The Downloads tab is where you can manage the episodes you’ve saved for offline listening and the Shows tab is where you can manage the podcasts you follow and check out their prior episodes. The shows are ranked in this section by whichever ones have the newest episodes.

Meanwhile, the Music tab has been updated to make it easier to get to the content you want to access. Where before users were presented with a list (Playlists, Stations, Songs, Albums, etc.) to dive into, you’ll now be dropped directly into the Playlist section.

To get to the Artists or Albums, you swipe or tap to reach their section. To add an Artist, you still “follow” them as before, and albums you favorite (by tapping the heart) are saved to the Albums section. You can also save all an album’s songs to your “Liked Songs” playlist by tapping the three-dot more menu (…) then choosing “Like all songs.”

The redesign places far less emphasis on video content, an earlier focus for the streaming music provider. This year, Spotify has instead doubled down on podcasts, believing in its ability to shift radio advertising over to its app by offering better targeting.

It’s been selling its own ads on its original podcasts since mid-2018. However, paid subscriptions still account for the bulk of Spotify’s revenue today — €1,385 million versus just €126 million from advertising in Q1, and subscriptions are growing faster than advertising at 34% vs. 24%, respectively.

The company has been ramping up on podcasts across the board, with acquisitions in the market like  GimletParcast, and Anchor as well as investments in original programming and exclusives. Just yesterday, Spotify announced a new personalized playlist that combines music and podcasts, as well.

Beyond its podcast focus, Spotify’s redesigned app is much easier to navigate — addressing a concern that some have had with the overall experience. Spotify’s busy interface is often cited by those who opt for Apple Music as one of the reasons they prefer the competitor’s app. To some extent, this is personal preference. But arguably, Spotify has been overdue for an update given its shifting attention.

Spotify says the updated design is live today for Premium users.

 

 

NFC gets a lot more powerful in iOS 13

NFC — the technology that helps power Apple Pay as well other clever features for iOS apps like Launch Center Pro’s tappable stickers — is getting a big upgrade with the launch of iOS 13, due out this fall. Instead of only allowing iPhone apps to read NFC tags, apps will be able to write directly to blank tags, as well as interact with tags through native protocols. This opens up a range of new application possibilities, Apple told attendees at its Worldwide Developer Conference last week, including the ability to create apps that read passports and contactless smart cards and interact with NFC-enabled hardware.

We’ve already seen the potential for NFC that goes beyond just an easier way to check out at point-of-sale in a traditional retail environment, as with Apple Pay.

For example, both Apple and Google recently announced support for Apple Pay and Google Pay-enabled contactless payments for the NYC Subway. Portland offers something similar, as do several other international cities.

With the updates to the core NFC framework, however, the iPhone’s NFC capabilities will get even more powerful.

With iOS 13 (on iPhone 7 and up), users will be able to read a range of contactless smartcards and tags, including NFC-enabled passports and other government IDs.

There are already solutions in the works that will take advantage of this new feature.

For example, both Engadget Japan and Nikkei have reported the Japanese government will add support for NFC tag reading to Japan’s national ID (Individual Number Card) when iOS 13 launches later this year.

The news was confirmed by the Japanese government, via a tweet from an advisor to the government’s CIO:

In addition, the U.K. government’s NFC passport reader app, ReadID, will now work on the iPhone as a result of the iOS 13 updates.

“This announcement means that ReadID will also work on iPhones, using the embedded internal NFC capability,” the company said in a blog post.

“Needless to say we are very excited about this. We’re convinced this will have a major impact on the online use cases such as mobile onboarding for banks, especially for countries with a high iPhone penetration,” the announcement read.

Beyond ID-scanning, iOS apps will be able to write to NFC tags (i.e. NDEF writing), and even lock the tag so it can’t be written to again, if the developer chooses.

And now, the core NFC framework will support tag reading and writing across various formats, including not only NFC NDEF Tag (for NDEF tags, as offered today), but also Mifare, FeliCa, ISO 7816 (e.g. for passports), and ISO 15693.

That means NFC will work in more places with more type of tags than what’s available today.

Above Image Credit: Ata Distance, which covers Apple Pay and contactless news 

Apple had unveiled some of its plans around NFC by pre-announcing support for NFC stickers and tags that can trigger Apple Pay payments at the Transact conference in Las Vegas, just ahead of WWDC.

Bird (scooters), Bonobos (retailer) and PayByPhone (parking meters) said they would soon support this feature, which enables NFC transactions without a terminal or special app from the vendor.

This is enabled by way of new support for Value Added Service (VAS) tags, which also support loyalty sign-ups with merchants. On this front, Apple said that Dairy Queen, Dave & Buster’s and Caribou Coffee will later this year use NFC tags that make it easier for their customers to sign up for their loyalty programs.

Panera Bread, Yogurtland and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches will also pilot instant enrollment.

At Apple’s WWDC, the company demonstrated NFC’s expanded abilities in a real-world scenario.

As an example of NFC in action on an iOS 13 device, the company showed off how a merchant could use NFC tags that displayed a product description after the customer scanned it, as well as how another NFC tag could offer the customer a coupon for their purchase, when scanned.

Launch Center Pro developer David Barnard, who had been selling NFC tags that were pre-encoded and locked so they couldn’t work with other apps beyond his own, is now unloading older inventory in preparation for iOS 13. The developer tweeted that his app will soon be able to write to blank NFC stickers, which you can buy in bulk on Amazon.

In addition, the upgrade to Apple’s Siri Shortcuts app means users could kick off an action or even a multi-step workflow just by scanning an NFC tag.

Developers have wanted more NFC capabilities for some time, and Apple has delivered. Consumers may not understand the underlying technology or know what it’s called. However, they will get the “tap to interact” functionality thanks to broad Apple Pay adoption, which taught them the behavior.

iMovie’s big iOS update adds 80 new soundtracks, green screen effects, image overlays

Ahead of the public launch of Apple’s revamped suite of first-party apps on iOS 13, the company has rolled out a new version of its popular video editor, iMovie for iOS. With the app’s most recent update, iMovie has received a host of new features — most notably, support for a green screen effect that lets you remove the background from clips, as well as the addition of 80 new soundtracks across a variety of genres.

The green screen support, in particular, could make iMovie a better competitor to the third-party video editors which tend to offer more advanced feature sets, while also keeping things simple for less savvy users.

Apple says users of the new version (2.2.7) will be able to remove backgrounds from any clips shot in front of a blue or green screen, as well as adjust the clip with a 4-point mask and strength slider.

 

Its 80 new soundtracks include genres like pop, chill and sentimental that will automatically adjust to the length of the movie.

In terms of new effects, iMovie will now allow users to add photos as overlays to create picture-in-picture and split screen effects as well as opt to hide the border on those. These were some of iMovie’s more requested features, in fact, and one of the reasons why people went elsewhere for video editing apps.

Other new features are designed to make iMovie easier to use. For example, when you switch back to the iOS app from other applications, it will take you right to the edit screen of your project. It has also tucked away access to iMovie Theater from the three-dot ( … ) more menu, as it’s shifting users to share videos to iCloud instead.

And, as part of other classroom-focused updates, iMovie now supports ClassKit, which means students can deliver their video assignments directly the teachers via Apple’s Schoolwork app.

Because iMovie is designed to work across Apple’s platforms, users can begin editing projects on their phone then transfer them to other devices like the iPad or Mac in order to complete edits, including those that may benefit from working via a larger screen — such as the green screen effect or color corrections, for example.

The updated iMovie is available for both iPhone and iPad from the App Store.

Twitter Developer Labs opens to all with release of first APIs

In May, Twitter announced plans to launch its Twitter Developer Labs program, a way for app developers to sign up to experiment with pre-released beta APIs. The idea, the company explained at the time, is to allow developers to test new API products early and offer feedback.

Today, Twitter says it’s introducing its first Twitter Developer Labs endpoints: GET/users and GET/tweets. These allow developers access to look up tweets and users by ID.

Twitter had earlier confirmed these would be the first API products to launch through the new program. They’ll be later followed by Filtered Tweets, which offers a real-time but filtered stream of tweets; as well as Recent Search, offering a way to search tweets from the past seven days. These latter APIs are still listed as “coming soon” on the Developer Labs website.

Beyond being a way for developers to test and give feedback over API products, the launch of the new program is Twitter’s latest attempt to reset relations with its broader developer community.

The company has had a rocky road in terms of its API platform, having yanked access to key APIs at times, and destroying app makers’ businesses along the way. Twitter never fully embraced its developer community. Years ago, it pulled out the rug from under the feet of those building alternative Twitter clients. It shafted its own partners. It hosted then killed its own developer conference. It sold off its Fabric developer toolset. More recently, a 2018 change broke many third-party Twitter-reading clients.

However, the company now hopes that working with developers more directly will be another way forward. By giving developers a voice when it comes to API changes, it may even gain more interest in its paid API products — like the premium ($339-$2,899/month) API or even enterprise API tiers.

Twitter reminds developers today that its new endpoints are still early releases and could still change.

“Since the endpoints we will release in Labs are early previews, they may change before we release them broadly,” writes Twitter in an announcement on its Twitter Labs community site. “We encourage you to take that into consideration as you build with them. For example, this might mean they’re not good choices to use in a high scale production application, and might be better for prototyping (if you run multiple versions of your application),” the company said.

Developers will get advanced notice when new versions of endpoints are released, so they have time to make updates. And Labs versions will be supported for a period of time during the transition, as well, the company notes.

Interested developers have to create a developer account, get approved, then join Labs to access the new APIs.