In a move that seems like a natural progression of the social network, Twitter is preparing to add a photo-sharing service.
The image hosting features will be rolled out over the next couple of weeks, from its website initially, and then to mobile and desktop apps at a later date, announced Twitter CEO Dick Costolo at the All Things Digital conference. Twitter has partnered with Photobucket to be the backbone of the service, who is excited to be chosen to as Twitter partner for this, said Tom Munro, Photobucket’s CEO. Twitter is also in talks with cellular carriers to enable users to tweet photos using their devices’ MMS system.
The new photo features, which will only be for still photos, comes in conjunction with changes to Twitter’s search function, which now include photos and videos alongside text, pulled from sites like YouTube and Vimeo. While Twitter says this is a natural extension of the social networking site, making the process easier for the tech savvy, one can’t help but wonder if this is move to compete with third party photo services such as Twitpic and Yfrog.
This is just another move made by Twitter that will seemingly create even more ill will between Twitter and third party vendors that create services for Twitter. Earlier in the year, Twitter began blocking third party apps, most notably from UberMedia, owner of the popular UberSocial and Twidroyd, for violating Twitter policies. The apps have since been reinstated. Twitter has also recently acquired the popular TweetDeck, a maker of Twitter mobile and desktop apps. Costolo has suggested that those software makers displaced by Twitter’s new photo service should focus on other business, such as photo and video hosting. Twitpic, which does host photos, has recently come under fire for selling the rights to photos uploaded by users, something Twitter has said it is expressly against and would not do.
Costolo also stated that Twitter isn’t taking aim at Facebook, the largest online photo host in the world, that their service is aimed at sharing photos as they happen. Arranging photos into albums will also not be allowed.