Your Future is in the Cards

Costa doing business.
Twitter held a mobile platform event for developers Tuesday night to introduce their new Twitter Cards. Jason Costa, Twitter‘s Platform Lead, kicked off the evening by reiterating Twitter’s importance as a part of today’s communications landscape: More than 400 million Tweets per day, more than 60% of them from mobile devices, and more than 70% of users outside of the United States.

He then reviewed the three types of Twitter Cards currently available and in use in both the Web and mobile Twitter clients: Summary, which gives a snapshot of links and pages; Photo, which displays photos from certain sources; and Player, which allows audio and video within your feed.

“Tweet embeds and Timeline embeds generate billions of moments of engagement.”
Jason Costa– Twitter Platform Lead, 02 April 2013

Costa then turned the stage over to Reeve Thompson, Product Manager of Cards, who announced the upcoming updates to the iPhone, Android, and mobile experiences would include deep linking and three new card types: App, Product, and Gallery.

Deep linking will allow Twitter updates to contain more robust content from your app within individual updates. Users will essentially be able to launch your app from inside the mobile Twitter experience. The updated experiences will also be able to determine if you have the app already installed or not. If you have the app installed, the Tweet will include a link to open the app so you can access the content mentioned. If you don’t have the app installed, the update includes a link which will take you to the appropriate store so you can download it without ever having to leave Twitter.

The new cards, introduced by Mr. Thompson and later elaborated upon by Director of Mobile at Twitter, Jeremy Gordon, will also allow for increased engagement within the mobile experiences, Twitter’s fastest area of growth.

The App Card will be the most interesting for people toiling to build the next big thing. It will allow updates with links to apps to display the name, icon, and description of the mentioned app, as well as other details like price and ratings.

The second new Card type introduced was the Product Card, which has the ability to turn everyone’s Tweeted Xmas wish list into a one-stop source for holiday shopping. By including a product and its link, the new update will display an image and description for the product, in addition to other variables such as price. Just imagine how easy it will be to shop for people this year (hint below).

Lastly, we learned about the Gallery Card, which will add context to your Tweeted images by including a group of four photos from a shared collection, rather than just one.

The event also included Twitter partners taking advantage of the new Cards, starting with Dave Morin, Co-founder and CEO of Path. Mr. Morin likened Path to a home in the town square that is Twitter, calling the new Cards the “most important distribution tools released this year.”

Next, Brett Wayn, VP of Flickr at Yahoo!, talked about how they wanted to make sure that sharing photos to Twitter was not only easy, but also beautiful. Quoting Flickr developer Chris Martin who worked on the card integration, Mr. Wayn said, “The hardest thing about doing it was keeping it a secret.”

On a personal note, I want to thank Jason Costa, Matt Harris, Carolyn Penner, and Jessica Verrilli for their time and insight after the event. I look forward to hearing what you and Twitter have in store for us next. In the meantime, the new Cards will be available in the updates scheduled for Wednesday. I’m excited to see what’s new in your Tweets when I see you on the ‘morrow, on the Web.
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Author  Stephen R. Fox