Twitter has never been overly forthright with their development schedule. Updates to the platform, be it the web interface, the APIs, or what have you came as they did, and that was that.
No more. Today at Chirp, Twitter’s first developer conference the company bucked its old habits, and laid out its best guess technology roadmap. Where is the company off to in the coming months? We now have a rough sketch.
There are a number of major changes and new features, some of which we have already covered, and some that we haven’t. Hit the jump and let’s get started.
If you were not aware of it, Twitter considers itself to be a largely mobile service. Sure, during its adolescence it grew mostly on its website, but now with the plethora of smartphones Twitter is focusing on its mobile side.
Today Twitter began to discuss “points of interest,” that are going to allow tweets to associate tweets with locations, and not just raw latitude and longitude data. You can tie a tweet to a place. Everyone is noticing the similarity of this to what Foursquare and Galla are doing.
Twitter had this to say “[points of interest are a ]way to see where a tweet is coming from but also a way to read all the tweets coming from specific nearby landmarks.” That is going to make Twitter more personal, and more interesting. As we will see, more data more relevance, or as @Rsarver said “proximity is a proxy for relevancy.”
If you thought that PubSubHubBub was fast, wait until you see User Streams, Twitter’s upcoming uber-real-time feed. Imagine no lag whatsoever between when I tweet, and when it shows up in your desktop Tweetdeck. This is the Google Wave of tweets.
Even better, it is going to come with no rate limits to let everyone use it as they will. No more running out of API calls, hallelujah. Assuming that Twitter can handle the load that this will add to their hardware, this is going to make Twitter feel much more like the final version of FriendFeed: information overload.
If you are familiar with Clicky’s Spy feature, it is like this but for the updates you want. And is not just for updates, but also for your complete social graph of DMs, @s, Favorite tweets and so forth. Twitter is only letting developers play with this for a few days as a trial, so we have to wait, but when this does come out it is going to be a massive upgrade to the basic Twitter experience.
We covered this in detail here, but the short version is that Twitter is going to let developers and applications tag tweets with metadata. What type of metadata? Any metadata that developers want.
Twitter decided to let developers decide how to handle the next big thing in metadata. What is even more important is Twitter’s decision to let developers pull the data back out of Twitter, once it has been sent it. More or less, this is a read write API for calling and tagging anything.
Twitter is showing its developers love by trusting them completely. Well done, Twitter.
If you missed our coverage, check it out here. @Anywhere is live, and out in the wild. Bringing deep Twitter integration to a plethora of websites, @Anywhere is going to bring hovercards, tweets, and other Twitter features inside of a publisher’s website.
If you know Facebook connect, this is Twitter’s answer.
Throughout the conference today, Twitter has stressed communication. “Email me, get ahold of me,” they said from the stage. Twitter seems to understand that it was built, and will continue to be built by non-corporate developers.
With that in mind, Twitter is launching a developer website, and is working to have more open and active discussions with developers as to what they need, what they want, what they hate, and what needs to change right away.
Twitter could do nothing smarter than this. If they want to stay ahead of their competition, and continue to be the darling that they are to all of our hearts, this is the golden goose they need to keep fed.
Twitter has had an amazing half day so far. They are launching and showing previews of amazing new capabilities and features. The company has been putting its bankroll to good use. If you had become a cynic on Twitter in the last few months, today should have worked wonders to make you a believer again.
If you feel that we missed anything large enough to mention, let us know in the comments and we’ll add it in. As things are announced, we’ll update this post.