Twitter: cosmetic skin updates

While US, Indian and Australian users are still able to fully use twitter's great SMS features, European twitter fans dearly miss the fastest and most direct way to receive updates, a proven system that even works with a 10 year old mobile. I was pretty shocked about the seemingly impossible mission to find a partner for the European market, as one would guess that players like T-Mobile should actually be pretty interested in hugging twitter closely. And I don't believe that a few cosmetic design touches will make up for missing SMS support. I hope that twitter finds a way to enable short message service usage in Europe again, but on the other hand that's the best market-entry point for competitors, as long as they are able to offer SMS integration.

There's no doubt I like the new design – no major surprises in here, just a few investments into the future:

The most significant change you'll notice on the logged-in homepage (/home) is that we've moved the tabs that were on the top of the timeline to the right sidebar. We did this for a couple reasons. For one thing, it makes them larger targets and easier to access. But more importantly, it was an investment in the future. We plan to have more tabs, and we'd run out of room putting them along the top. This was the driving factor for this redesign, but you won't see all the benefits until a future release (hopefully, very soon!).

The completely unnecessary archive tab has been removed (finally – it showed exactly the same tweets that are listed on the personal profile page), some more Ajax is supposed to speed up page loading and the customizable design editor has evolved, featuring a couple of standard templates. The “fave” and “archive” icons have not disappeared completely, but they only become visible now when the mouse pointer hovers a tweet.

Like most power tweeters, I don't care much about those things – I don't know a single heavy user who is actually using the web interface, so the look of the skin is not really a big topic here. There's a large number of clients (from iPhone to Linux) available, and brilliant little pieces of software like Twhirl make twittering a lot more fun. I'm really curious about the new features, and I'm pretty sure the next release will not just be cosmetic one.

btw: Friendfeed bought some new clothes as well.

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