The new Twitter Retweet function has been slowly rolling out over selected account these past few days.

This morning I found out it was active on one of our accounts (@Shareables) so I eagerly started playing with it. It works as expected and seems like a logical addition to the Reply button.

More noticeable however was a new Status Message on the top of my Twitter interface. As you can see in the screenshot below Twitter now shows how many new tweets were published in your stream, all without the need for a reload.

The number keeps updating as new tweets come in and when you click the yellow box the new tweets are shown without the page reloading. They just appear, magically, on the page.

Screen shot 2009 11 08 at 09.28.39 Twitter updates Interface: no need to reload for new tweets!

I can image all those page reloads being pretty heavy on Twitter’s service. This must be a smart way to get traffic down while increasing usefulness for users.

Screen shot 2009 11 08 at 09.42.30 Twitter updates Interface: no need to reload for new tweets!

The ‘new tweets’ indicator is also shown in the title so even if you are working in another tab you still know that there are new tweets. It works pretty similar to how search at Twitter shows new messages and I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t do this earlier.

The new interface apparently is activated with the new Retweet functionality. Are you seeing it too?

Twitter’s official announcement:

We’re starting a limited test of notifications on twitter.com for when you have new tweets. So if one of the folks you follow has tweeted since you loaded your homepage, you’ll get a little notice saying “1 new tweet” that, when clicked, will display the new content.

We think it improves the tweet consumption experience and hope to roll it out to everyone as soon as we can.