Yesterday it was revealed that Twitter was planning to unveil its own photo-sharing service. It's not quite what most people expected, but it's still something new nonetheless.
Starting with the new photo feature, Twitter has teamed up with Photobucket on a feature that will allow users to upload and attach photos to Tweets directly from Twitter.com and its mobile apps. Eventually, Twitter subscribers should also be able to send pictures directly to Tweets via text messages if they don't have smartphones. (But seriously, how many people actively on Twitter don't have smartphones at this point?)
Photobucket will be hosting the photos, so while this isn't completely an in-house job, it is another step in Twitter's path to clear out all the third-party clients that it seems determine to roll over. (Just look at what happened to TweetDeck, Tweetie and Summize.) So the message here to Twitpic, YFrog and similar sites would be: watch out.
A side note on the Twitter photos topic: It also being reported that the new version of iOS 5, which is set to be unveiled by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at WWDC 2011 on June 6th, will include an integrated Twitter feature in the photo app. If true, Twitter then seems willing to partner with the big names in mobile technology and the photo world, but it won't let any of the smaller third-parties get in the way.
Twitter's second (and more unexpected) announcement was that a new version of Twitter search is rolling out, starting today. The updated search engine should deliver more relevant Tweets and trending topics as well as related photos and videos. Additionally, Twitter members with the latest version of Firefox can also just type in hash tag searches and usernames into the address bar and the right search results should pop up. That seems susceptible to some wrong results at first, but it could prove to be useful.
For a closer look at the new Twitter features, check out the promo video below. (Both an iPhone 4 and an obvious MacBook Pro - with the Apple logo hidden by a Twitter bird - are depicted, so obviously the companies are at least friendly if not in partnership together already.)