Twitter's New "At Anywhere" Platform Allows For Deeper Integration Into Third Party Sites

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During his keynote at SXSW this afternoon (live blog here), Twitter CEO Evan Williams just announced a new “At Anywhere” platform, which allows websites to more deeply integrate the service into their sites. The idea is to offer a more seamless experience to Twitter users navigating third party sites like the Huffington Post and the New York Times, giving them Twitter content without forcing them to jump off the page they’re currently viewing. The details on the new platform are still scant, but this is Twitter’s answer to Facebook Connect, which we reported on back in January.

Among the features:

  • When you browse a site that uses @anywhere, people and brands that have Twitter accounts will be highlighted with a hyperlink. Mousing over that hyperlink will show a small box (a “hovercard”) containing their Twitter information, including their most recent tweet (in effect it means you don’t have to click over to Twitter’s homepage to see their Twitter profile)
  • Publishers will be able to more deeply integrate their own Twitter profiles, making them easier for their readers to ‘follow’ them
  • Sites will be able to implement @anywhere with a few lines of Javascript.
  • The new platform is launching with a number of major sites and services, including the New York Times, Huffington Post, Meebo, Amazon, Yahoo, Bing, and eBay.

It looks like the platform may eventually be hosted at Twitter.com/anywhere, which currently features a placeholder Twitter account that tweeted “Stay Tuned”. Update This may actually be a Twitter account related to the platform — it just tweeted “If you’re a javascript guru and want to help us build @anywhere and work with publishers @jointheflock”.

From the Twitter blog:

We’ve developed a new set of frameworks for adding this Twitter experience anywhere on the web. Soon, sites many of us visit every day will be able to recreate these open, engaging interactions providing a new layer of value for visitors without sending them to Twitter.com. Our open technology platform is well known and Twitter APIs are already widely implemented but this is a different approach because we’ve created something incredibly simple. Rather than implementing APIs, site owners need only drop in a few lines of javascript. This new set of frameworks is called @anywhere.

When we’re ready to launch, initial participating sites will include Amazon, AdAge, Bing, Citysearch, Digg, eBay, The Huffington Post, Meebo, MSNBC.com, The New York Times, Salesforce.com, Yahoo!, and YouTube. Imagine being able to follow a New York Times journalist directly from her byline, tweet about a video without leaving YouTube, and discover new Twitter accounts while visiting the Yahoo! home page—and that’s just the beginning. Twitter has proven to be compelling in a variety of ways. With @anywhere, web site owners and operators will be able to offer visitors more value with less heavy lifting.

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