Twitter has announced plans to introduce geo-location awareness to users' tweets, launching a new API enabling developers to add latitude and longitude to any post.
According to the micro-blogging firm, location sharing promises to add new context to each tweet.
For example, Twitter users could switch from reading the tweets of accounts they already follow to reading tweets from accountholders in their neighborhood or city, expanding the platform's relevance as users look to share information on local events ranging from concerts to natural disasters.
“There will likely be many use cases we haven't even thought of yet which is part of what makes this so exciting,” Twitter co-founder Biz Stone writes on the Twitter Blog.
Stone notes that the location feature will be disabled by default, and even after users activate the service, location data will be stored for only a limited period of time.
Twitter will initially release the new API to its developer partners: “Most of the mobile applications people use and love are built by Twitter platform developers,” Stone writes.
“Developers will have access to this new geo-location feature early which means it will most likely be available on your app of choice before it's available on Twitter's website. Later, we'll add it to our mobile web site and Twitter.com as well.”
In an interview
, Stone said Twitter was in the early stages of introducing commercial accounts. He promised business users premium services like detailed analytics.
From there, the company might move into developing business-centric APIs, creating a “commercial layer” over the social network.
“Twitter will still be free for everybody and we'll still tell them to go crazy with it,” Stone said. “But we've identified a selection of things that businesses say are helping to make them more profit.”
For more on Twitter's plans:
- read this Twitter Blog entry