Twitter may be preparing to take on Snapchat with a new ‘camera-first’ photo and video feature.
The tool would combine real-time, location-based photos and videos with Twitter Moments during newsworthy events, CNBC reported, citing sources close to the situation.
At the same time, Twitter confirmed on Wednesday that it’s introducing a new algorithmic news feature to timelines.
Twitter may be preparing to launch a Snapchat-style Moments section that shows location-based photos and videos tailored around certain important news events
Snapchat already has a camera-first feature that takes user posts from its interactive Snap Map, usually tailored around a location or an event, and adds them to a curated Story on its Discover platform.
The move might be, in part, a play to attract more advertisers.
Brands would be able to place advertisements in between photos and videos in the updated Moments section, similar to how ads appear at the end of Snapchat Stories and throughout the Discover section.
Rumors began circling in January that Twitter was prepping a Snapchat-style video tool.
Earlier reports noted that Twitter was looking into ways that it could make sharing video on that platform easier than ever.
Right now, the process of uploading a video is somewhat cumbersome, requiring users to click through several buttons in order to get to the feature.
An overhauled Moments section with location-based photos and videos would add to that feature by making it easier for users to view videos and photos relevant to a certain news event.
It’s unclear when or if Twitter’s camera-first feature will actually launch, but several advertising executives told CNBC that the tool is early in the development process.
Pictured left is the new algorithmic timelines that Twitter is testing among a select group of iOS and Android users. On right is how the algorithmic timeline appears on Twitter’s desktop version
In the past few years, Twitter has placed a greater and greater emphasis on video, hosting live sports like college football, as well as real-time news broadcasts from local and national outlets.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has called Snapchat a ‘very modern’ app and even admitted that his own app can be confusing.
Late last year, Dorsey said in a conference call with investors that the San Francisco-based company is ‘focused on making our service faster, easier to use, and more relevant to people every day.’
The Snapchat-style tool comes as Twitter confirmed on Wednesday that it’s building new algorithm-based timelines of news tweets and promoting them at the top of users’ feeds, according to BuzzFeed.
With a new photo and video-focused Moments section, brands would be able to place advertisements in between photos and videos in the updated Moments section. This is similar to how ads appear at the end of Snapchat Stories and throughout the Discover section
The feature is being curated by humans for now, but eventually it will be strictly algorithmic.
Some users who were selected to test the feature said that they saw news alerts of Stephen Hawking’s passing, the National School Walkout and the congressional special election in Pennsylvania at the top of their feeds.
‘People come to Twitter to see and talk about what’s happening,’ Twitter’s vice president of product Keith Coleman told BuzzFeed.
‘We’re working on ways to make it easier for everyone to find relevant news and the surrounding conversation so they can stay informed about what matters to them,’ he added.
The curated timelines will show up as a module on the top of users’ news feeds.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has admitted that his own app can be confusing and called Snapchat a ‘very modern app.’ The company has recently said it wants to make Twitter easier to use
Users click on the module, which takes them to a new timeline that only contains tweets about the specific news event.
Twitter is also testing including multiple timelines for the same news event, by including one that shows the latest tweets and one that shows a recap of older tweets.
It’s being tested among a group of iOS and Android users currently and, if successful, could be rolled out to all users in time.
The move comes as Twitter has rolled out a slew of other new features in the last month, including a bookmarking tool that lets users save certain tweets and read them later on.
HOW CAN YOU ACCESS TWITTER’S NEW BOOKMARK FEATURE?
Twitter rolled out a new bookmark feature to all users globally on Wednesday.
The feature lets users save tweets and view them at a later time.
Jesar Shah, a product manager at Twitter, said users had been requesting the feature for several months.
Leading up to the announcement, Shah had tweeted more details about the bookmark feature and allowed users to chime in with their suggestions.
In addition to the bookmark feature, Twitter also added new functions to the ‘share’ button, such as the ability to direct message, text and email a tweet to other users.
Twitter also announced some expanded features to the ‘share’ button on tweets
Here’s how to use the new bookmark feature:
- Tap on the ‘share’ button on a tweet
- From there, click on the ‘Add Tweet to Bookmarks’ option
- To find your bookmarked tweets, navigate to your Twitter dashboard
- Click on your profile icon, scroll down the menu and select ‘Bookmarks’
- Only the account owner is able to see bookmarked tweets