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Twitter redesign seeks to monetise user base

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Twitter has injected some new features into the micro-blogging site in an effort to lure more developers, partners and - most importantly - users to the service.

The privately-held company said in a blog post yesterday that it had "simplified the design" of Twitter. In fact, the firm appears to be morphing the service into more of a publishing platform for content to be shared among its more than 100 million-strong userbase.

Arguably, it's also becoming more of a social network. Although, Twitter's general counsel Alexander Macgillivray recently dismissed that suggestion.

"We often get lumped in with other media out there... we think of ourselves as quite distinct. People come to Twitter to say things publicly," he told a committee of MPs in September during a discussion about the England riots.

Perhaps times are a-changing for the site, which is clearly competing with Facebook given the tweaks that are incoming for the service.

"Four new tabs bring you instantly closer to everything you care about," the company said.

A section, dubbed "Stories", will be added to every account that will tailor the content on the site to that individual, presumably using an algorithm based on information such as location and followers.

The site is also getting a major marketing overhaul, allowing advertisers to have much greater interaction with Twitter.

Brand pages that are already prevalent on Facebook and were recently added to Google+ are also set to become a permanent feature on Twitter as the micro-blogging service pursues ad revenue.

The company told businesses that want branded pages that the site will be able to "control the message visitors see when they first come to your profile page by promoting a Tweet to the top of your page’s timeline.

"This Tweet helps you highlight your most engaging and important content and better connect with your target audience. The Promoted Tweet on your profile page will appear auto-expanded so that visitors to your page can instantly see the photo or video content that you link to from your Tweet."

Twitter added that the page and promoted tweet were free of charge and publicly accessible.

Businesses will also be able to customise those pages, adding their own colours, logo and messaging to the service.

And, like Facebook, Twitter is getting stickier on the internet.

Developers will now be able to embed tweets on other websites, by copying and pasting a line of code, Twitter said.

"It's a dynamic piece of media, and we believe that everyone should be able to view and interact with Tweets on the web in the same ways you would from any Twitter client," the company said.

Twitter said its redesign would be rolled out over the next few weeks to all its users. However, iPhone and Android mobile users will see the changes immediately after updating the software on their handsets.

Tweetdeck, the feed organiser bought by Twitter for $40m in May, will also be overhauled "to be consistent" with the latest version of the service. ®

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