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New @Twitter Design & Features This Fall

Mon, Sep 20th 2010 10:00 am

Twitter plans to roll out its redesign, aptly dubbed "New Twitter," randomly to users this Fall.  Twitter users can sign up to receive a DM (Direct Message) when they've been converted to the redesigned Web interface.

While users are left to wait patiently for the new design, Twitter also recently announced improvements to account information access and URL wrapping that should enhance usability and safety.

Twitter announced that beginning August 31 all Twitter applications will be required to use "OAuth" (Open Authorization) to access users' account information.  OAuth is an open standard that allows information to be stored in a central location, which means any authorized applications will be required to go through OAuth's secure technology to access your Twitter account.  With over 250,000 available, Twitter applications (e.g. Twitter for iPhone or foursquare) can no longer store passwords, and all authorized applications will be listed at http://twitter.com/settings/connections for easy access and management.

Twitter also revealed plans to expand its link wrapping service t.co, which wraps Tweet links in simplified links.  Wrapped links will display in an easy-to-read format with the actual domain and part of the URL visible to ensure users know what they are clicking on.  That means no more obscure shortened URLs that could contain links to harmful content.  Twitter offered in the following example in a recent press release:

"A really long link such as http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048 might be wrapped as http://t.co/DRo0trj for display on SMS, but it could be displayed to web or application users as amazon.com/Delivering- or as the whole URL or page title."

Every time a wrapped link is clicked, the request will be scrubbed to "protect users from malicious sites that engage in spreading malware, phishing attacks, and other harmful activity."  Although all links will pass through the Twitter service, they will still openly instantly.

Read more about the new Twitter in Paul Boutin's Gadgetwise piece for the New York Timeshere.

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