Twitter says an update to its site is on the way that will stress user pictures, videos, and profiles in an attempt to compete with Facebook and Google in a race for ad dollars.
The revamp, scheduled to roll out over the next month, is the first redesign ever for the four-year-old service and is aimed at allowing users to get "more out of Twitter in a lot less time," said Evan Williams, Twitter's chief executive, at a media event announcing the redesign.
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Twitter, a popular micro-blogging service with 160 million users, has been criticized for its Website that critics say is unreliable and lacks features similar to Facebook that allow the sharing of multimedia content with friends.
The redesigned Twitter homepage addresses those concerns adding a split screen on its front door with one side displaying tweets (140 character messages) and the other side consisting of a details pane where photos and videos referenced in tweet updates are displayed.
The redesigned Twitter homepage replaces the site's previous layout of a single timeline of messages from Twitter users, called tweets. The new design eliminates the need for users to open a new browser window in order to view content related to Twitter messages. For example Twitter has introduced mini profiles for users that can viewed simply by clicking on the username in the timeline. Instead of a seperate browser window spawning the mini profile appears in the details pane on the right-hand side of the Twitter homepage.
Twitter Tiptoes into Advertising
Twitter's attempt to make its homepage more engaging is part of the company's push for profitability. Earlier this year Twitter began working more closely with advertisers in its first push to make money. Twitter introduced Promoted Tweets in April that allows brands to pay to put (clearly-labeled) tweets about their products at the top of search results conducted its Website. Today's announcement attempts to make the site more engaging for existing users at the same time encourage new user sign-ups. More time spent on Twitter's homepage translates into more ad dollars.
Twitter added, thanks to partnerships with DeviantART, Flickr, YouTube and over a dozen more media-sharing Websites, users will be able to see embedded photos and videos without leaving the Twitter site.
The new changes will be phased in over the next few weeks, during which you'll be able to switch back and forth between the new and old layouts.