Well that was short lived. Twitter, the crazy-popular microblogging service responsible for Miley Cyrus' sheltered IRL existence until she disconnected her account, said it plans to end a service that links distinguished message posters to new users.
Called the "suggested users" list, the idea was to connect new Twitter users with some 500 celebrities, sports figures, and politicians that might be of interest, but the service drew criticism in California over perceived unfairness towards GOP gubernatorial candidates, according to an AP report.
"The list will be going away," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said at a conferences in Malaysia. "In its stead will be something that is more programmatically chosen, something that actually delivers more relevant suggestions."
As it stands now, names on the suggested user list are selected by company officials. Some took issue when, until recently, only Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls in California were placed on the list, which helped boost their number of followers.
As to the new service, Stone didn't offer up any additional details.
Perhaps looking to restore order in the court -- and a little common courtesy -- a federal judge in Georgia has banned using Twitter while in the courtroom, CBSNews.com reports.
According to U.S. District Judge Clay Land, Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure should be interpreted to ban Twitter. This is what it says:
"Except as otherwise provided by a statute or these rules, the court must not permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom."
The ban came after a reporter for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer asked permission to tweet the deets from a corruption trial, which was scheduled to start on Monday.
Some changes are coming to Twitter that the microblogging site hopes will help curtail the amount of spam that flows through its Trending Topics area, the social networking site announced in a blog post.
"As Twitter grows and the number of tweets each day continues to astound us, we’ve noticed an increasing amount of clutter in the public timeline, especially with trending topics," Twitter noted. "Trends began as a useful way to find out what’s going on but has grown less interesting due to the noisiness of the conversation."
Twitter's solution is to start experimenting with ways of ranking retweets, though the service didn't say how this would work. If we had to guess, we'd say it would be based on some kind of algorithm that gauges a user's popularity, among other factors, rather than a manual approach.
According to the blog post, any initial changes will be minor and "the improvement won't be very noticeable at first."
Twitter already speaks both English and Japanese, which is twice as many languages as some of its American users, but it's only the beginning for the microblogging service. Expected to roll out soon, Twitter plans to add support for French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
"These languages are commonly referred to using the acronym FIGS and are often the starting point for services like Twitter when it's time for more language support," the microblogging service announced on its blog. "Later, we hope to offer Twitter in several other languages."
Twitter plans to add multi-language support by first tapping into its userbase. The microblogging service said it has begun offering a simple tool for people with experience in other languages to suggest translations for the Twitter website. Later on, Twitter plans to distribute the translations to Twitter platform developers, "making it easier for them to offer multiple language support as well."
Or to sum it all up in 140 characters: Twitter to add language support for French, Italian, German and Spanish. Wants volunteers to help translate website. See http://bit.ly/LIa4C
Had things gone perfectly to plan, Twitter would have launched geolocation support for developers today at the Twitter Conference in LA, but apparently there are still some bugs to be worked out. But while it's not quite ready for prime time, Ryan Sarver, Twitter's platform lead, had a few updates for attendees.
According to Sarver, Twitter will soon be able to store location data, such as latitude and longitude coordinates, on a per-tweet basis. For those concerned with privacy, location information will be opt-in only and will require a visit to the settings page (it won't be enabled by default). Somewhat surprisingly, users won't see the new feature on the Twitter website when geolocation goes live other than on the settings page.
Also on the privacy front, Twitter will scrub geo-data stored in tweets more than 14 days old, which Sarver says will avoid subpoenas about a user's location. Location data will be deleted outright from Twitter's database, and not just anonymized.
Sarver had plenty more to say on the microblogging service's geolocation update, which you can read here.
Twitter is on the brink of sealing the deal for yet another round of funding, which will value the microblogging site at around $1 billion, TechCrunch reported on Wednesday.
While not yet finalized, the company is expected to raise around $50 million, with most of it coming from New York-based Insight Venture Partners. All but a done deal, Chief Executive Evan Williams feels confident enough it will go through that he's announced the latest round of funding to employees.
Twitter's website recorded 44.5 million visitors in June, representing a 15-fold year-over-year increase, according to data from comScore.
"When something like Twitter or Facebook becomes a cultural phenomena, it's much more than the sum of the parts. It's really tapping into a cultural shift," said Salil Deshpande, a general partner at venture firm Bay Partners. "As the network effect increases, the value increases."
Just how popular is Twitter? By the end of the year, some 18 million U.S. adults will access the microblogging service on any platform every month. That's more than the population of Switzerland, Singapore, and Norway combined, and also a 200 percent increase over 2008 stats. By 2010, that number's expected to jump to 26 million, representing another 44 percent increase.
The numbers come courtesy of eMarketer, who notes that the final tally might be even higher due to users accessing Twitter not just through the service's website, but via text messages, mobile apps, and various desktop applications as well.
"Since our earlier Twitter user estimates were published in April of 2009, the number of Twitter.com visitors has risen sharply," said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna. "In addition, research data shows healthy -- and growing -- percentages of U.S. Internet users adopting the popular microblogging platform. These two factors compelled us to upwardly revise our previous forecast.".
On the flip side, eMarketer says "large numbers" of users end up abandoning the service after a short stint, and yet others only Tweet their latest happenings on an infrequent basis.
Surprised by Twitter's explosive growth? Hit the jump and sound off. And if you want follow us on Twitter, you can do so here:
Facebook late last week announced plans to roll out tighter integration between the social networking site and Twitter. More specifically, you will soon (if not already) be able to publish Facebook updates to your Twitter accounts automatically, however this will only link Facebook Pages to Twitter and not your individual profile.
"If you manage a Facebook Page, you now will be able to decide whether to share updates with their Twitter followers, and you also will be able to control what type of updates to share: status updates, links, photos, notes, events or all of them. If you have multiple Pages, you will have the option to link each of those Pages to different Twitter accounts. This new feature will soon be available at http://www.facebook.com/twitter," Facebook wrote in a blog.
According to Facebook, there are a number of celebrities and organizations on Facebook already using this feature, including Dane Cook, LIVESTRONG, The World Wildlife Fund, and the NBA, WNBA, and D-League.
It seems as though everyone uses Twitter these days, but outside of venture capital, the microblogging service isn't raking in the big bucks. So how does Twitter plan to pull in an income going forward? One way is by offering commercial accounts to businesses.
According to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, the company is in the beginning phase of rolling out commercial accounts with premium services like detailed analytics. The next phase may involve building business-oriented application programming interfaces (APIs), giving the site a commercial layer.
"Twitter will still be free for everybody and we'll still tell them to go crazy with it," Stone said in an interview. "But we've identified a selection of things that businesses say are helping to make them more profit."
The challenge for Twitter is in separating who uses the microbrogging service for personal use and who's using it professionally, and then charge them for it. That's where the idea of integrating features that people are willing to pay for comes in.
Stone also said he wouldn't rule out the idea of acquisitions for the two-year old company, saying it's "definitely possible."
Last month, Twitter co-founder Isaac "Biz" Stone jotted down in a blog post his intention of trademarking the term "Tweet," which at the time probably seemed like a slam dunk request. Instead, the request is turning out to be no easy layup as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has preliminarily denied the patent app.
Whether or not the decision is fair, we'll leave that up to you decide, but here's the deal Three other companies -- TweetMarks, Cotweet, and Tweetphoto -- already have pending applications for trademarks that contain "tweet" in their names. This was enough to make the Patent Office gunshy in granting Twitter's request, at least for now, even though Stone expressed in his blog his company's willingness to let developers use the term.
"We have applied to trademark Tweet because it is clearly attached to Twitter from a brand perspective but we have no intention of 'going after' the wonderful applications and services that use the word in their name when associated with Twitter," Stone wrote on the same day the patent application was filed. "In fact, we encourage the use of the word Tweet. however, if we come across a confusing or damaging project, the recourse to act responsibly to protect both users and our brand is important."
Should Twitter be granted the trademark? Hit the jump and sound off!