The earlier week we reported that Twitter will soon launch it’s own photo sharing service. Looking at the recent tweets of a suspicious demo Twitter account, it appeared that Twimg.com (which is owned by Twitter) might be the website where all the photos will be stored.
If you have missed the earlier article, here is an example Tweet where the URL of a photo uploaded on Twimg.com is clearly visible:
Fact of the matter is – I was partially wrong and partially right. You will soon know why.
It’s not Twimg.com but pic.twitter.com which is supposed to be the URL of Twitter’s upcoming photo sharing service. Twitter has partnered with Photobucket for storing all the photos, but users won’t necessarily require a Photobucket account to upload photos from Twitter’s web interface, once it’s live.
Twitter has started rolling out it’s photo sharing feature among a small subset of users, including Twitter employees who can currently use Twitter’s web interface to upload photos. Alexia Tsotsis of Techcrunch tweeted a few minutes ago that she is one of the few lucky users who has access to this feature.
From the above screenshot, it appears that the image is stored at pic.twitter.com/picture-ID but the link redirects to a subdirectory of the user’s Twitter profile URL. In this case, clicking the link takes you to http://twitter.com/#!/user/status/XXXXXXXXXXXX/photo/Photo-ID, while the actual photo link is shortened using Twitter’s own URL shortener t.co.
Copying the image URL reveals that the photo is stored over a subdomain of Twimg.com see example (publicly viewable).
Actually, it’s quite logical to give Twitter photos a new URL, so that your followers instantly know that it’s a photo and not an external link. The image is stored at Twimg.com but the shortened URL of the image is masked under pic.twitter.com.
Here is how Twitter’s web interface will look, once it’s activated globally for all users.
Photos uploaded from Twitter’s web interface won’t be public and can’t be viewed by anyone who does not follow the user. But the image URL is publicly viewable, of course. So if one of your followers copies the Image URL (not the link) and shares it, anyone can view it.
Honestly, I am not very happy with Twitter’s new photo sharing service. They never experimented with new features for three years but encouraged developers to build apps and services around Twitter’s API. Suddenly, they produce their own version of these apps, completely copying their features and user behavior. URL shortener, desktop client, Tweet button, photo sharing, locationâ€¦and I am sure many more will be added to the list in the coming days.
It’s like encouraging power users to be creative, develop the ecosystem and once it’s a hit, hammer it down with your own copy. Why not promote these wonderful apps by incorporating itself on Twitter.com? Or sign a deal or something so that the result does not hurt each others business, branding and the legal aspects. Instead, Twitter wants to kill all the apps which helped it grow in the first place.
To the Twitpics, Yfrog’s and other photo sharing apps: you should have learned your lesson when Twitter launched it’s Tweet button and killed Tweetmeme.