I get a lot of Android-related questions from my geek friends and the top one has to be, “What is the best Twitter client for Android?” A new unofficial Twitter app is launched every week on the Android Market, so my answer varies a lot.
Why doesn’t Twitter just release their own application? Facebook and MySpace both have native Android apps. Even Orkut got the native treatment from Google.
If you look at the recent actions and statements coming out of Twitter, they could be secretly planning an Android app. Actually, I think most of us would be shocked to learn that Twitter isn’t working on an app.
The story goes all the way back to last year when TechCrunch posted a leaked Twitter roadmap that gave us a preview of their future. It comes as no surprise really, but Twitter wants to rule the online world (like Facebook and Google) by becoming the first with a billion members so they can become the pulse of the planet.
If Twitter really wants to be the pulse of the planet, then location will be key. They updated their mobile site last year and turned on location in February. Based on what every other company is doing, a native application is the next logical step after creating a mobile site with location (See Buzz, Facebook, Foursquare, Gowalla, etc.).
Biz Stone, the Co-founder of Twitter, talked about the importance of location in a recent blog post.
“A recent burst of interest in location sharing applications, games, and services has many Twitter users excited about appending geographic data to some of their tweets. There are many ways location data can be useful when paired with tweets. People who choose to add this additional layer of context help make Twitter a richer information network for all of us—location data can make tweets more useful.”Biz StoneCo-founder of Twitter
Mr. Stone is correct when he says, “location data can make tweets more useful” but I think he really meant more valuable (as in $$$).
It is going to be awhile before we learn Twitter’s full monetization strategy, but location based ads (or just location data) are sure to play a key role. Twitter knows most of their users are tweeting from GPS-enabled mobile devices and they want to capture that valuable data. Developing a native Android application will allow Twitter to set the new benchmark for the Twitter experience.
Does it sound plausible yet? Would you leave your favorite Twitter client to use the official app? I bet a million of you would at least try it.
If you want to play around with the new location features of the mobile site, check out How To Tweet with Your Location to learn how you can turn it on. I’ve uploaded some screens below that show the latest version of the mobile website that uses location.
p.s. speaking of native apps, how do I get an invite to the beta for the digg app?