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Twitter Upgrades Search Engine, Simplifies Photo Sharing

Twitter has revamped its search engine, improving relevance and adding multimedia content to results, and in a few weeks it will start letting users attach photos to their posts via a new native feature on Twitter.com.

The search engine that will start rolling out on Wednesday is a "completely new version" that will deliver more relevant results, not just limited to text "tweets" but also incorporating photos and videos, Twitter said in a blog post.

In a special version of the Firefox browser with integrated Twitter search functionality, people will be able to search for Twitter accounts and trending topics right from the URL address bar.

Meanwhile, Twitter is finally incorporating the ability to post "tweets" with photos without having to use an external photo sharing application. The functionality will go live on Twitter.com in a few weeks and on Twitter's official mobile applications later. Twitter is partnering on this with Photobucket, which will provide the back-end hosting of the images.

"For users without smartphones, we're working with mobile carriers around the world so you can also send photos via text message (MMS)," Twitter Executive Chairman and co-founder Jack Dorsey wrote in the blog post.

Photo sharing is the latest functionality that Twitter has decided to build into its service, after relying on external applications to provide it. As Twitter has incorporated features formerly provided by third-party applications, its relationship with external developers has frayed.

Although developers who suddenly find themselves competing with core Twitter functionality are crying foul, Twitter officials have said that it's necessary for Twitter to build these core functions natively into its microblogging service. Twitter also maintains that plenty of opportunities still exist for developers to add features to Twitter for end users, advertisers and publishers.

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