Whether users are tweeting from their Android devices or an iPhone, iPad or their desktop, Twitter has an update for you.
Twitter today launched updates for seven different apps: Android, iPhone, iPad, Mac, twitter.com, mobile.twitter.com and TweetDeck. The updates include the new ability to sync direct messages across devices and Twitter accounts, along with tweaks for search results, the Connect tab and a built-in tweet composer.
"People use Twitter to connect to the things and people they care about. Today, we're making that even easier with a coordinated update...," wrote Josh Barnes-Hoyt, a senior software engineer at Twitter, in a blog post. "For all of these platforms, you'll now be able to sync direct messages (DM) across all your devices and Twitter accounts. When you read a DM on your Android phone or iPhone, it will be marked as read in your browser, your desktop apps, or your tablet. And vice versa."
Barnes-Hoyt noted that while the syncing update is live today, the rollout will be gradual.
"To me, this makes them more Facebooky, by making it easier to send direct messages on multiple devices," said Dan Olds, an analyst with the Gabriel Consulting Group. "With the additional options for direct messaging, plus searches that bring up more details about users, it looks to me like Twitter is aiming to become more of a social networking destination rather than just a communication tool."
For Android, iPhone, iPad and mobile.twitter.com users, Twitter has some search changes in store. Barnes-Hoyt said that for these four apps, users who now search for people on Twitter will get more information in their search results. Instead of just a list of names, the results will include a "full bio."
"This account preview makes it easier and faster to find and learn more about the accounts you're looking for," he added. "And if you swipe the preview to the left, you'll find similar accounts. For example, if you search for the MLB, you'll see suggestions for ESPN, Ken Rosenthal, and other MLB-related accounts."
For the iPhone app alone, it will be easier for users to reply to tweets. Twitter for the iPhone now has a built-in tweet composer that will pop up when a user taps a tweet to see details.
"It's also easier to find accounts to follow with a new people button on the navigation bar, making the iPhone experience consistent with our Android app," wrote Barnes-Hoyt. "Tapping this icon reveals a list of accounts that may be interesting or relevant to you."
For Twitter on the Mac, the Connect tab will show tweet interactions so users can find favorites and retweets, along with any @mentions. This update will mimic the user experience that people have had on Twitter's website and other mobile apps.
However, Mac users who only want to see @mentions under the Connect tab can set their preferences to make that happen. Twitter for Mac will now support several languages: Danish, Filipino, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Thai.
"These new enhancements should make it easier to use Twitter, so users should embrace them," said Olds.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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