Early Hints On Twitter’s Own Photo Sharing Service, And What It Means To The Devs
By on June 1st, 2011

For the past couple of days, we have been hearing rumors that Twitter just might launch their own photo sharing service. The earlier week, Twitter acquired TweetDeck and now comes a direct assault on the second flank of Twitpic’s and Yfrog’s.

While Twitter is yet to reveal the whereabouts of it’s own photo sharing service, we have an early hint. Here is how the URL of photo uploads might look like:

twitter-photo-sharing-url

Interesting, you say? And that’s a pretty long URL, we were expecting something short like the one used in the Tweet button.

The above Twitter account has only 8 tweets till now and all of them have the URL of a photo uploaded on a subdomain of Twimg.com. The main domain returns a timeout error while the subdomains itself return Access denied. One Twitter user spotted the above suspicious test account and the test photo uploadsa few hours ago.

Who owns Twimg.com? Of course, it’s Twitter and the domain was registered on 23rd September,2009. Here is the Whoisdata for Twimg.com, if you are curious.

twimg-whois

A reverse IP check shows a couple of websites hosted on the same web server where Twitter.com is (including twttr.com). In this case, Twimg.com is not shown but another site called uniquephoto.com is, which is unlikely to be twitter’s new photo sharing service.

reverse-ip-domain-check

Coming back to business, Twitter launching it’s own photo sharing service makes perfect sense. Third party sites like Twitpic generate a lot of revenue from Google Adsense and banner advertisements and Twitter wants to go the commercial way. Months ago, Twitter told developers to stop building apps and clients and take extra care that your app is not violating privacy policy or providing an inconsistent user experience.

What This Means To Developers

Twitter has a lot of gaps and holes. And this is where the third party devs created a healthy ecosystem.

Twitter never had any built in support for photos, videos, media and long conversations. Twitter’s own short URL came after ages when there were already dozens of URL shortening services fully operational and firmly grounded. No desktop client for three years !

Just think, if they kill or ban every other third party app out there, how frustrating the entire Twitter experience can get. You can’t shorten link, share photos or videos and have to manually tweet your location, post your blog articles…the list is endless.

Thank god that we have third party services like TweetDeck, Bit.ly, TwitPic users found new ways to engage with the system. And suddenly, you’re replacing them with your own stopgap army.

Well, these are the apps which contributed to Twitter’s popularity to some level. As far as I can remember, it was Tweetmeme who revolutionized the concept of Retweet button. What Twitter did is just take that idea, build it’s own copy and hijacked the web with it’s own Tweet button.

Next major expansion was the desktop client TweetDeck. This time, they realized that it would be better to just acquire them instead of building a copy. So they did.

Just because you see that this new kid is getting popular and well accepted, either you kill it or acquire it. You’re passing a message to the devs Hey, if you’re creative and build something cool, either you will be killed or acquired.

To the developers: Don’t build a business around someone else’s, it could mean disaster.

Nonetheless, the following image seems to be the first photo which was uploaded on Twitter’s own photo sharing service.

twitter-photo-sharing-first-photo

And it’s damn funny!

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Author: Amit Banerjee Google Profile for Amit Banerjee
Amit has been writing for Techie Buzz since early 2009 and keeps a close eye on web apps, Google and all things Tech. He also writes at his own tech blog, Ampercent. Follow him on Twitter @ amit_banerjee

Amit Banerjee has written and can be contacted at amit@techie-buzz.com.

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