Twitter has risen in a few short years to become one of the Web’s most important services. In addition to the various status updates, lots of people post photos using a variety of services. If the rumor mill’s correct, Twitter might be launching their own service.
Although TechCrunch is reporting that Twitter is doing so using anonymous sources, something that everyone should take with a grain (or maybe five pounds) of salt, it seems to be in line with the company’s current strategy. They already bought the Tweetie iPhone app and rebranded it as an official Twitter app, and they also bought the popular TweetDeck app in early May 2011. They also introduced a URL shortener similar to is.gd and bit.ly.
Currently, people who post pictures on Twitter will generally use services like, TwitPic, Tumblr, Instagram, or yfrog. The situation mirrors the earlier explosion of Twitter clients. An ecosystem had developed around Twitter because they gave programmers easy access to their own data. But Twitter recently seems to see the developers of these popular services as competitors.
Earlier this year, Twitter told developers that Twitter will be the ones making clients for Twitter, thank you very much. “Developers have told us that they’d like more guidance from us about the best opportunities to build on Twitter. More specifically, developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no,” Twitter Platform Director Ryan Sarver said.
If they do launch their own photo sharing service, Twitter will probably discourage others in this area as well. Since Twitpic and others simply provide hyperlinks to be posted in Twitter, there’s not much that they can do to stop them. Users who are really loyal to a service will probably continue to use these services as they already have.