Twitter launches “Explore,” a new home for Moments, trends, search and live video

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Twitter’s Moments feature, which allows users to tell stories through a collection of tweets, is no longer going be front-and-center in the Twitter application. Instead, Twitter will today replace the Moments section with a new tab called “Explore.” This area will serve as the home for finding out what’s happening on Twitter, including trends, Moments, search, and featured live video streams.

The change will begin to roll out to Twitter users on iOS today, and will make its way to Android in the weeks ahead. It will also eventually come to the web, the company tells us, but that’s not Twitter’s immediate priority.

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Moments launched in 2015, and was meant to serve as Twitter’s own take on short-form content – the kind of thing that’s popular on other social apps – like Snapchat’s and Instagram’s Stories, for example. But Moments take more time to create, as you have to first find the tweets you want to collect via search, by adding links, or by pulling them from a specific account or your favorites. That could have put off some users, leading to the feature’s more minimal adoption.

Twitter first began testing a replacement for the Moments tab with a small percentage of its users over the past few months, and found that people liked Explore better because it was easier to find the news, what’s trending, and what’s currently popular. The results of those early tests encouraged Twitter to roll the feature out more broadly.

Explore’s tab will actually shift out of the middle position that Moments once held in the bottom navigation bar. This center spot will now feature Notifications instead, with Explore just to the left.

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The new section will give Twitter a better way to highlight Moments or live video, as it includes a larger header which can feature either of these items.

Below that is the “Trending Now” section, followed by “Today’s Moments,” and then an “Explore All” area where you can delve into specific categories like News, Sports, Entertainment or Fun.

In addition, it gives Twitter a way to promote live video – something it helped to pioneer on social through the launch of Periscope. But in recent days, Twitter added live video streaming directly in its main application, which has some wondering if Periscope will be excised from Twitter, too – especially given that the company passed its developer platform Fabric over to Google, and shut down its video clip community Vine.

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Explore will also give Twitter a prominent spot to showcase its live streamed events, like its NFL games, red carpet pre-shows, and numerous other news and sports events it continues to bring to its service through a constant stream of partnership deals.

Before, these events have been more difficult to find, which could have impacted their viewership numbers. Being able to feature them in prominently in Explore will likely bring in more live stream viewers.

Overall, this change makes sense in terms of usability because it centralizes access to all the features that help you find out what’s happening now – and for a real-time network like Twitter, that feels like a better fit than Moments.