Just days after Twitter indicated its interest in the search market, the messaging platform is now spreading its wings towards the social networking scene.
Under a pilot project covering a small (lucky) portion of its user-base, it has introduced two new ‘tabs’ that increasingly turns the Twitter experience more ‘Facebookish’.
The tabs, that replace the ‘@mention’ tab in the traditional twitter interface (on twitter.com), give the user information that they are more used to from a social networking site like Facebook.
For example, the two tabs now show which are new users following him or her, who are the users who ‘retweeted’ his or her messages and a separate “activity” chart of the people you choose to follow — much like Facebook’s own summary of what your friends have been up to lately.
Coming only days after it made its interest in the search market apparent, the latest move can only be interpreted as yet another proof that Twitter does not intend to remain just a messaging service, however successful.
Like Facebook, which became more like Twitter a few months ago with its ‘updates’ and ‘news feeds’, Twitter seems to have decided to take a ‘unified’ view of the online interaction, communication, information and socialization market.
Google, the king of information on the Internet, too is moving in the same direction — with its Google plus service that seeks to address competition from both Twitter and Facebook at the same time. The Google Plus service is much like Facebook, but also has the ‘asynchronicity’ of Twitter.
In other words, while Facebook is an egalitarian platform, where you interact with peers, and Twitter is a ‘leader-follower’ platform, Google Plus has both aspects.
On its part, Facebook too has been addressing the issue of diversification by adding Skype, @facebook.com email service etc..
Twitter was the service that was seen as a laggard, till about two weeks ago. It was then that the firm really opened its cards on the real reason why it did not extend its ‘real time’ search partnership with Google. It struck a search partnership with Mozilla Foundation — enabling Firefox users to search Twitter messages and users from their browsers.
In other words, Google’s real-time search on Twitter was more or less transplanted to Firefox.
That left the challenge from Facebook. Proving pundits right, Twitter is now becoming a more ‘wholesome’ social networking experience, instead of remaining a leader-follower network. The new ‘tabs’, therefore, intend to give a more immersive experience for the user.
Like on Facebook, they can be glued on to what the people they ‘follow’ do, who’s doing justice to their tweets by ‘retweeting’ them, how many people have recently decided to hitch their wagon to theirs etc..
The ‘social networking’ or ‘Facebookization’ of Twitter can also been seen in another feature that was unveiled in the last few days to all its users — the ability to add pictures and videos to your messages. In addition, Twitter added a new box on the user’s homepage that shows his or her recent pictures and videos, making it look more and more like Facebook.
The service is on a pilot stage and only a few users have these features turned on at present. Once the features are crystallized and the bugs are ironed out, the new features will be opened up to the rest of the population.