SAN FRANCISCO, California — Twitter is adding location-based place pages to its website, the company has announced.
The new feature is called Points of Interest. Starting soon, users will be able to click on a place name (or a location tag, if one exists) in a tweet and see that place on a map. Next to the map, they’ll also be able to see what people are saying about that place in a search results view. From what we’ve seen, it’s a convenient entry point into the current Twitter chatter about a certain place or city.
There will be an API for developers, which we’ll learn more about later today. The API will let developers build this feature into client apps, so it will be accessible from more places than just the Twitter website soon enough.
The announcement was made by Twitter CEO Evan Williams at the company’s Chirp developer conference taking place here Wednesday.
There are several hundred developers here at Chirp, and the announcement drew a round of applause from the audience.
“I think it’s a big step forward for the Twitter platform,” says Andy Gadiel, founder and president of JamBase, a social website for finding live music shows and events in cities worldwide. “Location is all about relevancy. Not just where you are in terms of a latitude and longitude point, but a real place in the world.”
We’ve seen huge growth around location-based services lately, especially on mobiles, where it’s become central to the user experience of almost every search-based or social app. Late last year, Twitter added the ability for users to add location to tweets, something that made tweets more relevant for search applications. The location tags are basically geotags indicating latitude and longitude, or latlongs. Also, Facebook recently added location-sharing for its users’ status updates as well.
Just after the announcement, Williams fielded a question from the audience: Will Twitter have a check-in behavior around Points of Interest, a la Foursquare?
“We’re not looking to duplicate the functionality of Foursquare or Gowalla. We want to make those services work better with Twitter. If you’re writing a tweet about a place and you type the name of that place, that’s sort of a check-in. But what we’re really interested in is what you’re saying about that place.”