Twitter's official annual developer festival - 'Chirp' is over and we bring you a complete roundup of the event, just in case you missed it. This was Twitter's first such developer meet, which is quite surprising as they have over 100,000 third-party applications already developed for their platform. At the conference, a lot announcements were made about features that will be implemented in the near future, and about some features that are already in action:
1) In an effort to make Twitter a monetizing platform for them, the folks at Twitter will soon be introducing a Google Ad-Sense like platform, called 'Promoted Tweets'. Promoted Tweets will add a section in your search results wherein all the sponsored tweets from different vendors and companies will show up.
2) Twitter inaugurated the Twitter Developer website, which will provide developers with an environment that allows them to register apps, get documentation, and discuss app development with each other.
3) Twitter is working on a feature called Points of Interest, which will provide support for working with Geo-location features.
4) Twitter introduced a whole bunch of new API features, such as the new User Stream feature, which will allow desktop applications to work with users' posts, retweets, direct messages and response; all in one development model. Two other features introduced were Places (database of information about locations) and Annotations (which allows third-party clients to store metadata on Twitter)
5) Twitter also unveiled @anyhwhere, a framework similar to Facebook Connect, which will make it much easier for a website to integrate Twitter features and functions.
6) After talking about the success of the Blackberry App, Twitter said it will be making its own Android-client, and that it is on a path that will provide more 'official apps' to users along with their web interface.
7) Twitter will also introduce its own url shortener (twt.tl or twee.tt) and do away with the default bit.ly.
8) Twitter also said that they will be "hosting images" by this quarter.
Developers were worried that these last three steps may cause a great usage share variance, and that Twitter is stepping on their toes. CEO Evan Williams comforted them with the assurance that Twitter is not trying to compete with them, and that being open to ideas is a big part of Twitter.
Other interesting takeaways from the Chirp conference included potential areas for developers to explore: such as cheap international SMSes, helping publishers use the @anywhere, giving users a reason to share their locations, analyzing/storing all the data thrown off by Twitter’s users, and much more.
While this was Twitter's first such developer's meet, many attendees observed that it was more like a business meeting or AGM, and less of a collaborative experience than they imagined or would have liked, with barely a line of "code" to be seen. Let us hope next time Twitter manages to seem more like a guiding light for their platform, rather than the company that owns it.
- by Soumya Deb and Abhinav Lal