Facebook rival Twitter is looking to expand even more from it’s 140 character messages. They recently acquired Madbits, a startup only a year old, and although the amount of money for which it was gained remains a mystery, their reasoning is immense and evident. While Twitter has focused mostly on text, Facebook was able to expand upon the use of photos in posts, partially due to it’s acquisition of Instagram. Photos on instagram and Facebook are an almost interactive experience, as pictures were able to incorporate tags, hashtags, filters, and selective sharing. On Twitter, the experience was decidedly less involved. But not anymore.
Madbits is used for image search and cataloging. It uses visual intelligence technology to understand the content of images, and if tags are associated, a challenge that is backed by the programs intense learning. Allowing for this kind of image searching on Twitter will give it the photo database feel of Instagram, as it is easier to shuffle through the material. This could also set business Twitter users apart from Business Facebook pages, as the posts can be easily tailored to fit an e-commerce functionality. This will also give Twitter the ability to gather data on what users are tweeting about and the kind of pictures being shared across their site. Once the data is analyzed, Twitter would be able to target future updates toward specific user behaviours.
Twitter only recently started to allow users to tag people in photos and allow GIFs to be seen in the newsfeed. While Madbits has worked the past year on about ten prototype applications, they ultimately decided to sell the work to Twitter, where they believed that it would be able to reach it’s full potential. While it is unclear if Twitter will hire many of the Madbits employees, one of the Madbits co-founders, Louis-Alexandre Etezad-Heydari, has confirmed that he will be a Senior Sofware Engineer at Twitter.
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