Twitter Updates iPhone and Android Apps: Improves Discover Tab, Search & Push Notifications

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Twitter just announced the latest updates to its mobile apps for Android and iOS. With these updates, these apps get a number of much-needed new features, including an improved Discover tab, better support for search and support for push notifications for interactions. These new push notifications now let you know whenever somebody retweets you, favorites one of your tweets and when somebody new follows you. Until now, Twitter only sent push notifications for direct messages and mentions.

With this update, Twitter is apparently trying to address some of the criticism it faced when it launched its radically redesigned mobile apps last December. Last year’s redesign deemphasized many core features like direct messages, search and lists in favor of highlighting, among other things, follow recommendations and trending stories in the Discover tab.

Today, Twitter is making some much-needed changes to make the Discover tab more useful. You can now use this tab to browse an activity stream of “updates that shows which Tweets are favorited or retweeted by the people you follow and which accounts those people follow or add to lists.” This new stream will appear right under the Stories section in the Discover tab.

Twitter also made the search feature in its mobile apps easier to use with this update. The apps now offer “suggestions for different spellings and related terms for your queries. Finding the people you’re looking for is faster, too. In the Connect tab, you can start typing the first or last name or username of the person you’re looking for and the name will autocomplete for people that you follow.”

Quite a few power users moved away from the official Twitter apps after the redesign. It’s unlikely that this update will get them to switch back. Right after the launch of the redesign last December, TechCrunch’s MG Siegler asked Twitter’s Director of Platform Ryan Sarver about the company’s reasoning behind the changes. At the time, Sarver said that Twitter didn’t want to compete on features but wanted to “keep things simple.” Looks like that hasn’t changed with this update.