Twitter on Wednesday confirmed its place as a development platform, said it has 50,000 apps and announced plans to open up its fire hose of real-time updates to everyone. Rest assured business app developers will be among the first running to Twitter's fire hose.
Twitter's news, revealed at the Le Web conference in Paris, was delivered by Ryan Sarver, Twitter's director of platform. According to news outlets on scene such as ReadWriteWeb, TechCrunch and VentureBeat, Sarver said all developers will have access to Twitter's full fire hose in early 2010. Twitter will also launch a developer site and support browser-less applications. As Louis Gray notes, Twitter's ecosystem is maturing rapidly.
The enterprise hook here is fairly obvious. Everyone from Salesforce to SAP is tapping Twitter as a sentiment measurement tool. SAP had a powwow for "influencers" on Tuesday and I found myself paying more attention to the Twitter-powered sentiment indicator (right) more than the actual keynotes. My hunch is our resident curmudgeon Dennis Howlett may have been skewing the negative sentiment just by watching. Nevertheless, the Twitter-powered analysis from the Enterprise Irregulars was valuable.
Here's the point: Twitter has become a big sentiment indicator for companies looking to connect with customers and drive sales. Sure, Twitter has a lot of distraction and noise, but in the end it's a valuable business tool.
Via its APIs and fire hose, Twitter will set off a bevy of monitoring apps and integration with existing enterprise software packages. That integration is well underway---see Salesforce.com's Chatter and SAP for instance---but opening the fire hose to developers is likely to accelerate the B2B development process.
It's still a bit fuzzy to me how Twitter will make money. Twitter's ecosystem and developer program will be huge, but not in an Apple profit center type of way. With Apple's developer platform and App Store all roads lead to dollar signs via more iPod and iPhone sales. Twitter will quickly have a mature development platform, but the business model will remain immature.
But those business details are for Twitter to figure out. Enterprise types are likely to take Twitter's fire hose of real-time data and find ROI more quickly.