Twitter Inc. is rolling out a Snapchat-like camera feature that lets users post videos or photos in a swipe, as the social-media company experiments with changes and new products to persuade more people to join the service.
Bloomberg reported more than a year ago that Twitter was developing the feature with a working demo version. The update allows users to more easily access the service’s existing camera, encouraging them to show nearby events in real time, whether its breaking news, a sporting game, or a festival. It also simplifies the current cumbersome process of sharing videos or photos on the text-dominated platform.
It’s “designed to make it easier to capture what you see happening, and get it to the people who want to see and talk about it,” Keith Coleman, Twitter’s vice president of product, wrote in a tweet introducing the camera.
Twitter has a history of being slow to change its product, scrapping ideas for fear of alienating its hardcore users and debating new wrinkles over long periods of time, in contrast with its larger rival, Facebook Inc., which hasn’t been afraid to make drastic changes to its social network. Recently, Twitter has increased the pace of new product introductions.
Earlier this week, it opened access to its prototype app, called twttr, which the company is using to test new ideas and get feedback, marking the first time Twitter has provided early explorations of product features to the public. Users must apply for access to the app.
The prototype app reflects the company’s efforts to make Twitter feel more like a chat service, with fluid conversations. The replies to tweets have a rounded shape and indentations to organize and make it easier to follow conversations. The prototype hides engagement metrics on replies for likes and retweets behind a tap. The app will continue to evolve, and the features tested may never be developed, Twitter said.