Owning the client!

Twitter recently changed the Terms of service for access to its API to build applications off or on its feed and in one swift move dropped a hammer as one writer noted on the entire ecosystem. Citing consistent user experience and the need thereof they have just about banned every competing client for their service that stands out there. Twitter Platform lead Ryan Sarver in a developer forum recently clearly laid out that “Developers have told us that they’d like more guidance from us about the best opportunities to build on Twitter. More specifically, developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no,”. Sarver notes that according to Twitter’s own data, some 90% of active Twitter users now use official Twitter apps on a monthly basis to access the service. Ever since Twitter bought Tweetie and turned it into their own native iPhone app, third-party developers have been wondering where this would leave them and before long Twitter moved into Android, iPad, Mac, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and other spaces and this only compounded some of that fear. Ryan Sarver highlights Twitter’s “diverse ecosystem” of more than 750,000 registered apps and that ecosystem just got altered a bit. People are once again unhappy as a company is seen to be taking action against their developer community. But at the core this is just simple monetization. Twitter targeted Uber Media; a company that has been quickly buying up a significant part of the Twitter ecosystem possibly to figure out a way to monetize it. Uber Media’s Twitter third-party clients, namely, UberTwitter and Twidroyd were shutdown on Mid Feb 2011 by Twitter. The ban was later revoked once Uber Media accepted to make changes but the damage was done.

The importance of a tightly knit client to access the service is not something that can be taken lightly, no. Facebook has not had much to do on the client side till recently when they bought Israeli startup Snaptu a very useful and light client for access to Twitter, Facebook and a host of other services. My personal experience of this tool has been let us say the mst positive and I was using it on a Nokia E90 running Symbian which perhaps gives you an idea of how cross platform this actually is. I mean does anyone even make apps for Symbian still and yeah what does that say about me when you realize I just mentioned I use a Nokia!

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About Soumya
A technology enthusiast, forever enamored by all that it hath wrought and of course here is an attempt at making sense of it all and perhaps simplifying it!

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