Twitter applies for mysterious trademarks for user identity tracking tools, live news app

Twitter is trademarking this icon to represent a new streaming news service.
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Twitter has filed a couple of trademarks today, one for an application programming interface that will help developers identify and authenticate users, and another, an icon, representing a new live news streaming app.

Twitter is trademarking the term “The Future of Identity,” which describes API and software development kit (SDK) tools to help developers write software for “securing, organizing, maintaining, and managing logins, credentials, passwords and other authentication, security, and identifying information.”

The tools can also enable the developer’s app to identify users “across multiple websites and software applications with a single login.”

While the trademark documents do not spell out the end goal of the technology, the tools could be used for more than security purposes. They may be aimed at helping developers offer more and better user data to advertisers hoping to target the users across websites, apps, and devices. The data could also be used by the developer to understand user behavior and market apps and services to them more effectively.

The second trademark application is for a simple icon that represents a real-time, streaming news and information service that could be delivered via an app or a website.

The trademark application says the new service would create a “public forum” for the upload, sharing, and discussion of real-time news and other information. The service, Twitter says, could be delivered “by means of telecommunications networks, wireless telecommunications networks, or the Internet.”

The new app or service, Twitter says, could be either a streaming audio or streaming video service. Live news and sports has been the missing piece in streaming video offerings like those from Netflix and Hulu. Maybe Twitter is trying to fill it.


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Twitter Makes It Easier For Developers To Add Timelines To Mobile Apps

twitterkit-timeline-citymapper-cropped Twitter this week rolled out new features to its mobile developer platform, Fabric, aimed at expanding access to Twitter timelines from third-party applications. With an update to Twitter Kit, the platform component that lets developers authenticate users via Twitter and showcase tweet embeds within apps, developers are now also able to integrate Twitter timelines within their iOS or… Read More

Twitter’s Fabric now lets developers add tweet timelines to their Android and iOS apps

The SFMTA Twitter Timeline in an iOS app.
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Twitter announced some useful additions today to the Twitter Kit, which is part of the company’s Fabric software-development kit. Now, with just a small change, iOS and Android developers can get entire user timelines and Twitter search results in their apps.

“With user timelines, you can seamlessly integrate tweets from any Twitter account into your service – in just a few lines of code,” Twitter product manager Michael Ducker wrote in a blog post on the news. “With search timelines, you can automatically display search results based on key terms relevant to your app experience.”

In addition to adding user timelines and search timelines to Twitter Kit, the messaging service is also adding guest authentication to timelines, so developers won’t need to make app users enter their Twitter login credentials.

This might all look like developer news, but really, it highlights a strategic priority for Twitter as a company. It needs to make tweets more visible, accessible, and relevant — because that in turn can improve the value of Twitter’s content for advertising purposes, which is where the company earns much of its money.

Twitter first launched Fabric in October.

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Twitter redesigns its homepage to lure in new users

Twitter dragon
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Twitter today launched a new homepage for logged out users. It features topics that point to timelines of tweets from popular Twitter accounts.

As Twitter explains, the point is to offer “rich real-time content, just like the Twitter experience for users who log in” to visitors who don’t have a Twitter account or who have simply logged out. Here is how it looks:

Twitter_logged_out_home_page

As you can see, there are 10 set topics on the left-hand side: News, Sports, Entertainment, Technology & Science, Lifestyle, Music, Humor & Novelty, Arts & Culture, Fasion & Style, and Government & Nonprofits.

Yet there are also topics like “Cute Animals” in the middle that looks like they aren’t static and may change based on what Twitter wants to showcase. Presumably, major events can be featured there so even logged-out users can check out what’s the latest by simply heading to Twitter.com.

While this is rolling out now, Twitter is limiting the launch to the U.S. for now:

More to follow

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Twitter redesigns embedded tweets on the Web with full-width photos and videos

Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.
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Twitter said today that embedded tweets will now feature full-width photos and videos.

In a blog post this afternoon, Twitter said that it has redesigned embedded tweets to support “the modern Web.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.09.06 PM

“This latest design makes it easier to tell engaging stories by beautifully integrating tweets into your content,” Twitter wrote. “In the three years since we first introduced embedded tweets, Twitter has become much more than a medium for text, now encompassing photos, videos, and more. Our latest redesign supports full-width photo and video for even better visual integration with surrounding content.”

Twitter said it has also reduced the weight and rendering time of embedded tweets so that Web pages load faster.

In addition, the company said it is now dynamically choosing the best-possible photo and video quality on mobile devices, many of which “now support screens with high pixel densities, allowing for higher-quality photos and icons in the same embedded tweet display area.”

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Twitter is testing a ‘You may also like’ suggestion feature on individual tweet pages

Twitter dragon
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Twitter is testing a new “You may also like” column on the right-hand side of individual tweet pages on Twitter.com. “I can confirm this is an experiment for a limited group of users,” a Twitter spokesperson told VentureBeat.

The experimental feature shows five apparently related tweets. Note that I do not follow Mark Hazlett nor DigitalOcean, and they do not follow me:

Twitter_you_may_also_like_5_tweets

A source close to Twitter said this experiment has been around for a while, and indeed a quick search on the social network itself shows someone first noticed exactly a month ago on March 14. Yet I only spotted it on my account today, suggesting it has since been expanded to more users.

Clicking on the “View more” button at the bottom of the column opens up 10 additional tweets, but the implementation is poor: They simply show up directly below the original five (notice the scroll bar in the screenshot below). The column could easily be made wider to avoid all of this scrolling, though Twitter may be wary of doing this so as not to remove the focus from the main tweet in question.

tweet_suggestions_scroll

This is a smart move on Twitter’s part as many new users find their way to the site by stumbling on a specific tweet. There often isn’t anywhere to go from there, aside from the replies listed below.

Interestingly, I don’t see this new column on every single tweet page. It doesn’t appear to be based on the author of the tweet: While testing, I opened a VentureBeat‘s last few tweets, and three-out-of-five showed me the column.

If the column does show up for a tweet, it’s always there if you open it again. That said, if you open the same tweet a few minutes later, the column will show a different set of tweets.

This may suggest the column is showing up based on the content of the original tweet. Still, the tweets don’t appear to be related by keyword to the original tweet in question.

It’s not currently clear if Twitter will decide to roll out this feature to everyone. If it does, we hope the company will think of a better implementation for the desktop web, though on mobile, suggested tweets could be easily shown by swiping to the left.

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Twitter Is Pushing Celebrities And Publishers To Stop Using Meerkat

live-streaming-meerkat-periscope Twitter is doing whatever it can to help its live video streaming acquisition Periscope beat independent competitor Meerkat. Multiple sources tell TechCrunch that Twitter has been contacting celebrities who use Meerkat, trying to convince them Meerkat is dying and that they should use Periscope instead. Sources also say Twitter has been in touch with media companies that use Meerkat, going… Read More

Datasift says goodbye to its Twitter data access

From the Datasift website
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Data reseller Datasift said today that its access to Twitter’s firehose is ending.

In a post on the corporate blog entitled “Twitter Ends its Partnership with DataSift,” CEO and founder Nick Halstead said his company’s customers will have access to Twitter data until August 13 of this year.

“This is an extremely disappointing result to us and the ecosystem of companies we have helped to build solutions around Twitter data,” he wrote.

Last Spring, Twitter bought data reseller Gnip, which was one of three big Twitter data resellers. The other two were Datasift and NTT Data.

In a post Friday on its blog, Gnip’s Twitter ecosystem head Zach Hofer-Shall wrote that “the acquisition of Gnip was the first step [by Twitter] toward developing more direct relationships with data customers.”

He added that the next step “in working directly with data customers is to transition everyone receiving raw data for commercial use from other data resellers to a direct relationship with Twitter.” This was a process begun with the purchase of Gnip, Hofer-Shall said, “and we expect to finish the transition by the middle of August of this year.” Since becoming a public company, Twitter has faced pressure to increase its sources of revenue.

Halstead noted that nearly 90 percent of his customers use Datasift to “access data from multiple social networks,” and pointed to his company’s recent partnership with Facebook.

He said “80 percent of our customers use our advanced processing capabilities” that are not available from the direct Twitter/GNIP feed. These include, he said, integration options into business intelligence platforms and automatic categorization based on meaning or sentiment.


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Periscope now allows you to accept comments only from people you follow

Periscope for iPhone
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Twitter today pushed an update to Periscope, its live-streaming mobile app, that lets broadcasters allow comments only from people they follow.

The new “follower only” mode is “available before starting your broadcast,” Twitter said in its app update. “If you turn this on, only viewers that you follow can comment in your broadcast.”

At the same time, it is now easier to block commenters. “You can block users more easily” by tapping on a comment and choosing to block its author.

Other new features in today’s update include a new “global” section which “lists the most recent, live broadcasts from around the world.”

Periscope users’ home feeds will now “only show live broadcasts and replays tailored” to individual users.

In addition, Twitter users with “verified” badges, the little blue check marks that are seen on users’ profiles, will now show on Periscope.

Twitter launched Periscope last month. The app quickly stole much of the thunder of Meerkat, another new live-streaming mobile app.

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