Twitter have rolled out a new feature showcasing galleries of recently uploaded images from users. Galleries display the 100 most-recent images the user has shared with their followers dating back to January 1, 2010, from supported photo-sharing services. Clicking view all launches a gallery in either details or grid layout, showcasing that users recent image uploads.
This is an interesting move for a number of reasons. Firstly, with Twitter now rapidly ramping up it’s service offering in response to competition from elsewhere, it also highlights that they feel the service needs to have a more rich media as part of the Twitter experience. Whilst this update concentrating on images at the minute, it is likely that users will respond positively with increased volume of uploads, which will include Twitter’s own service, and indeed potentially roll out to video later on. Much debate on the web whether 140 characters is the right limit for the service has already begun, but for me, the real beauty of the service is its simplicity and core value of remaining small and lightweight. This type of bolt feels like the start of the slippery slope of feature creep.
Secondly, the traffic being pushed to major service providers such as YFrog and Twitpic is going to take a hit, as people will no longer need to clickthrough to uploaded results, as they will appear right from within the Twitter interface. With the recent launch of their own photo hosting service, the potential for them to bait and switch in favour their own platform remains a real possibility and threat to these services. It will be interesting to see if any photo hosting services deny Twitter direct access to their images via hotlinking (which is currently the method they are employing), albeit with permission at present.
Twitter Communications Manager Carolyn Penner said in a tweet “We’re rolling out one of my fave features today: user galleries! View photos an account has shared on Twitter. Sit tight – it’s coming soon.”