I’m at Twitter HQ in San Francisco eating cheese and guacamole in anticipation of the announcement. No one will talk but TechCrunch has reported that it’s video and inline images. I’ll make an attempt at live blogging, though I don’t like it much.
The room is full of press. Ev Williams and Biz Stone have just come out. Biz Stone is telling jokes and thanking people for coming.
We’re waiting to hear “what’s inside the egg?”
Ev Williams takes the stage and is providing some “context.”
Twitter is getting better and bigger. Ev: Twitter is too hard. Needs to be easier, faster . . . Twitter makes sense on mobile. But we realized that not enough people were getting the great Twitter mobile experience and that’s why we launched our own apps.
Twitter users on mobile are up 250% since the beginning of the year. Mobile is obviously critical for the future, says Williams. He adds that there are 370K new sign-ups per day, 16% are on mobile.
Mobile underscores how we think of Twitter: a real-time information network. Our goal is to make this information network as valuable as possible.
Twitter levels the playing field in terms of creators and users of content more than any other tool out there, says Williams. He says that he and Biz Stone have been working on helping people publish things for more than a decade in their various prior lives.
Making it very easy for people to publish on Twitter has caused some confusion. Some people don’t have anything to share. But in the right context everyone has something of value to share.
Williams: to get started on Twitter you don’t have to tweet. You can come to Twitter and simply consume information . . . technical problem with slides; “time for jokes.”
Williams: the main thing that people need in the world of expanding information is the ability to curate and filter information. A greater need than the need to create content is to discover relevant content in a sea of information. It has been hard to find out what’s relevant for you on Twitter. Twitter follower suggestions addresses that and has gone very well.
We’re seeing 90 million tweets a day. People are turning to Twitter to filter the Web. About 25% of tweets come with links.
We’ve been focusing on infrastructure. The Twitter of today can handle higher loads while building new features and experiences.
Twitter.com is the biggest Twitter client; 78% of active users are on Twitter.com vs. other clients. About half only use Twitter.com.
Announcement: new Twitter.com. Faster, richer, better experience.
We’re now watching a slick, promotional film. Looks like an expensive TV commercial.
Williams is showing a two-pane experience. Users can do a lot more on the page; there’s a great deal more information displayed. Here’s a screen:
You can embed images and video. Twitter’s done deals with media partners, including YouTube. You’ll be able to see inline images and play video without clicking away: “See more of the conversation.” We’re watching a YouTube video playing on the page.
There’s also a new profile page; better “identity” and branding features. There’s a new architecture behind the site: more agile and responsive, more stable.
It launches today for a subset of users and globally. But it will be an incremental rollout. It will take “a couple of weeks” for everyone to get access to the new Twitter.
About the deals with media companies . . . Williams rattles off a list of video partner sites that enable users to embed video content on the Twitter.
There’s a discussion going on about lists but I missed the substance because of a slow connection.
Question re developer access to new features. There’s more stability for developers and “new methods” for the API — additional capabilities that will be rolling out in the coming weeks.
Question about internal and external testing. We sought to design the best user experience. Since May or June there have been continuous tests going on in house in response to new designs and user experiences. “It was very thoroughly tested.” The new site represents a “design breakthrough.”
Question: How does the new site help twitter newbies? It does so by providing more information and context. “Things that are cryptic in Twitter today become much more obvious now.”
Question: about monetization . . . There’s nothing specifically focused on monetization with the new design. But a) it makes Twitter more engaging . . . for things you might attach to a promoted Tweet. Movie-related promoted tweets can show trailers, for example, inline. “We have yet to show this to advertisers but we think they’ll be excited” by the “larger canvas.”
We think the new design will increase engagement with Twitter.com and the other clients.
Williams says that traffic to Twitter.com has increased 100% this year.
Question: will Twitter lose its simplicity and become more complex like Facebook? We chose the design approach to maintain simplicity. Williams: embedding more content on Twitter makes the experience more streamlined; you don’t have to go somewhere else to see the link or content. Twitter argues this experience is actually simpler.
Question about the “fail whale.” Are we going to see that more now? They reiterate that Twitter is now stronger and more stable.
I ask about any changes in Twitter search. Twitter: the search experience is now more integrated into the overall workflow. Saved searches is integrated into the nav. We wanted to build search into the overall experience in a much more prominent way.
The new site is now live for some: