Twitter rolled out an update to its service this morning that aims to make the social app more competitive with mobile messaging clients, including the recently upgraded iMessage arriving in iOS 10. The company says it’s introducing a number of new features for Direct Messages – its private messaging feature – including things like Read Receipts, typing indicators, and web link previews, for example.
Read receipts and typing indicators, of course, are features that are common to almost all mobile messaging apps today, like Facebook Messenger. In group messages, Twitter will also indicate which people have seen the item you shared, or will note “Seen by Everyone” when the whole group has viewed your post.
Of course, not everyone will welcome Read Receipts – many turn this off when texting so they don’t feel pressured to respond. Fortunately, Twitter offers a similar setting for opting out:
Meanwhile, the addition of web link previews is something that aims to bring the Twitter experience closer to what you’d see in your default messaging client, like iMessage. In iOS 10, which is arriving on September 13, iMessage will offer rich link previews – meaning inline previews of the web links you’re texting to a friend.
Surprisingly, Twitter had not yet supported this in DMs – despite the fact that it allows for rich media in its main Twitter timeline.
The DM product, in fact, hadn’t seen much attention over the years until Twitter finally made the decision last summer to drop the 140 character limit from private messaging. While brevity is still the focus of the main Twitter stream, it makes sense that messaging in the app should feel more like, well…messaging.
Apparently, Twitter now agrees.