Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.
Twitter is in the process of expanding its Certified Products program to four countries beyond the United States and the company may be looking at the possibility of launching its Vine API.
In a talk at the Big Boulder conference, Conway Chen, Twitter’s Director of Business Development, and Zach Hofer-Shall, Manager of its Certified Products program, spoke about their company’s use of data and how they view third-party tools.
Vines in your third-party apps
During the talk, Chen was asked about whether developers would be able to take advantage of Twitter’s Vine files inside their own apps. It was revealed that the topic had been broached within the company’s development team.
We asked Chen if there was a specific timeframe that he could share, but he couldn’t. It has been talked about by developers for some time to embed Vine’s six second videos into their third-party apps, but until now, there hasn’t been an official way. We say “official” because while Twitter lacks the infrastructure to make it happen now, there have been some workarounds, including Vine Roulette and Vinepeek.
Whether it’s going to be an API is still up in the air, but it does appear that any solution Twitter releases for Vine could focus on finding new ways to embed the videos.
Expanding the Certified Product program
When it comes to its Certified Product program, both Chen and Hoffer-Shall said that the company is in the process of adding more support for four new countries. Twitter is in the process of looking at applications in Japan, Brazil, South Korea, and India. In fact, Chen tells us that he was just in Japan last week working with developers there.
The program, started last August, initially launched with 12 partners and is geared towards certifying third-party applications and was meant to “shape, guide, and promote” businesses developing around Twitter’s ecosystem. “We love our ecosystem and there are parts of it that thrive and we want to show them off and give our seal of approval,” says Hoffer-Shall.
Twitter’s program has been growing in recent months, with 9 more partners added this January and 11 new ones included just last month. Among the 32 companies, Twitter counts ExactTarget, Gnip, Radian6, DataSift, Adobe Social, and Simply Measured as trusted partners.
With its recent additions, Twitter is certainly making moves towards curating more international brands under its program. Hoffer-Shall says that as Twitter adds between 5 and 10 new partners each quarter, it will devote half of them to those in-country apps, meaning non-US companies. So up to five companies could be certified in Japan if they’re building something innovative and helps the Japanese market. He does note that these companies don’t need to be in Japan, but could also be localized for the country’s users.
Hoffer-Shall emphasized the word “innovative” during the interview and said that if you’re building an app that copies the same features and services an existing Certified Product tool has, then the odds of you being certified are fairly low. However, if you have something that offers better analytics, engagement, tools, then your odds increase.
Twitter’s reputation with developers
On the topic of Twitter data, Chen and Hofer-Shall said that they’re happy that its data platform is starting to gain more promotion from within its company. For a while, Twitter hasn’t been a favorite company by developers following the events from its inaugural Chirp conference. As TNW’s Matthew Panzarino reported from the All Things D D11 conference:
Developer alienation has been a common theme over the past couple of years, but it’s been generally settling down into the new Twitter order, which sets up the service as the ‘canonical’ timeline experience, and promotes developers which use Twitter’s data, rather than its stream of tweets.
It’s well-known that Twitter has been limiting what apps can be built using Twitter’s data and company CEO Dick Costolo reiterated their stance: it doesn’t want people duplicating what his company sees to be the core of ‘Twitter’.
Scaling Twitter data
Both Chen and Hofer-Shall say that Twitter data has been focused on making itself available through wide distribution — Twitter wants to work with as many people as possible around the world. They said that when the data strategy first came together, the company had only a few guesses about what developers would do with the data, but they’re now working to help people find and provide tools to help act on what they receive from services like Gnip and DataSift.
During the 30 minute interview, four things were shared that Twitter believes makes its data platform different from all others:
- Real-time: It there’s something that you want to find right now, it can be found in the stream.
- Public: The entire data stream is exactly what you see on Twitter.
- Conversational: It’s not about people who are speaking “into the ether”, but rather the interactions happening on the network.
- Distributed: It’s available to many people.
Twitter has a part of its core values the belief that it should “defend and respect people’s voices” and Chen says that the company is doing everything to ensure that the users have the best experience, no matter where their Tweets are used. They emphasized that if you delete a Tweet, that message is removed from its servers so that it’s not used on TV or on any app that leverages Twitter’s firehose. He says that the service has a culture of making sure that content is distributed to the masses in not only a fast manner, but a meaningful one as well.
Photo credit: Gnip
Disclosure: Gnip invited me to attend Big Boulder and paid for my airfare and my hotel. These words are my own.
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