SAN FRANCISCO, California — Twitter’s @anywhere features are now live for developers to start using, the company has announced.
Developers can begin using the system to integrate different kinds of Twitter engagement directly into their sites or apps. You can find details about it at the new Twitter developer site (which also launched Wednesday) at dev.twitter.com.
@Anywhere basically provides a way to let Twitter users follow other people and send tweets directly from within your web page or app.
The key component is the “hovercard” — you’ve seen them on the Twitter website for the last month or so. Any time you see somebody’s Twitter handle mentioned, you can hover over that person’s handle and a little window pops up showing their profile photo, location, short bio, number of followers, and — the key part — a “Follow” button you can click and add them to your follow list right there, without leaving the page.
The announcement was made by Twitter’s head of platform Ryan Sarver at Chirp, the company’s developer conference happening here.
It’s interesting to see so much excitement around hovercards, which have a lot in common with hCards, the microformat standard for publishing and sharing contact information on the web. Microformats have been around for a while but they haven’t really been widely adopted, and it will be interesting to see if rebooting the idea on top of the Twitter platform — a social layer that makes them more accessible and relevant– will give new life to the concept.
The other components of @anywhere are the “Connect with Twitter” (a remote sign-in system) and the Tweetbox, which you can embed in your page and let people send tweets directly from the page.
Sarver brought out some media partners to talk about how they’re deploying @anywhere features. There were some impressive presentations from The New York Times, Yahoo and MSNBC News. If you’re reading a story on one of their websites, you can see a hovercard when you hover over a journalist’s name and start following them immediately.
One other announcement from Sarver: Twitter is turning on an as-yet-undocumented feature called Annotations this week. It allows developers to add any kinds of metadata they want to tweets. The obvious one is content-specific tags, but we should see other implementations of Annotations when developers start playing with them at the Chirp Hack Day taking place tonight and Thursday.