Science and Tech


What Twitter's Latest Announcements Say About Its Direction

Twitter's new mobile platform is more than just an "olive branch" for developers — it's a way for the company to move past its social media roots.
Posted at 7:37 AM, Oct 23, 2014

Twitter announced a suite of new technologies built for app developers Wednesday. It's an effort to become more than just a never-ending steam of 140 characters or less, and make money while doing it.

The announcement came as part of its developer-focused Flight conference.

Twitter introduced Fabric, a mobile platform focused on providing developers with easy access to crash data — you know, like when an app crashes every time you hit the "Next" button; distribution; revenue through advertising; and identity confirmation — similar to logging in with a username, but using a phone number and temporary code sent via text message. (Video via Twitter)

If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of the mobile platform, you can read about it on Twitter's blog. Here we're going to dive into what the announcements mean for the future of the company. 

A writer for The Wall Street Journal suggests Twitter is "looking to have its Google moment ... when the tech giant began pushing to become more than just an Internet search engine." 

Twitter's "Google moment" seems to be about becoming more than a social network — it's about offering developers tools to create better apps, and making money in the process.

The Journal says Twitter's new mobile platform could introduce new revenue streams for the company. 

"In exchange for the free tools, developers may be more willing to give Twitter a spot somewhere within their apps … Twitter could embed tweets and, eventually, ads it calls promoted tweets."

And Wired says Twitter is looking to diversify its offerings in a way thattargets anyone who uses mobile apps, which is a lot of people.

"If Twitter succeeds with this plan, it won’t matter whether or not you use Twitter the product. You will end up using Twitter the company every time you use your phone — even if you’re not aware of it."

That's because Twitter is targeting developers — the people who build the apps that run on your iOS and Android devices.

As of July 2014, that's a pool of nearly three million apps. Apps where Twitter could embed those promoted tweets The Wall Street Journal mentioned earlier.

Still, Marketing Land reminds us Twitter will have to once again earn the trust of app developers before it can expect them to adopt its Fabric technology.

Back in 2012, the company added some restrictions to its service that made it a bit difficult for third-party developers to create apps for Twitter. (Video via Tapbots)

But Marketing Land suggests Fabric is an "olive branch" of sorts — this mobile platform could serve to restore developer confidence in Twitter, which works out well for developers and Twitter alike.

Developers get easy access to revenue through advertising, crash data and logins; Twitter gets built into loads of apps, effectively making it the mobile services company it aspires to be.

This video includes images from Getty Images.