Twitter chief operating officer Dick Costolo gave more detail on the company’s new @anywhere service, which will make it easier to post tweets and follow Twitter accounts across the Web, rather than visit Twitter’s website.
The goal of @anywhere is to “remove friction” and “make it easier for people to tweet in the context of what they’re doing on the Web,” Costolo explained. Twitter cofounder Ev Williams first unveiled the concept last month at the South by Southwest conference in Austin but gave little information on how it would be implemented.
Costolo said @anywhere has four components. It lets people log in to Twitter on other sites and tweet directly from other Web properties. It also makes it easier to follow people’s accounts without searching for them on Google or Twitter’s site. For example, if a news story references a person like President Barack Obama, their name can be a link to Obama’s Twitter account that triggers a pop-up window on the page which lets you follow them directly from the story. (We use that feature occasionally on VentureBeat.)
“We’re not in the business of helping these publishers do deep integrations,” Costolo said. “We’re looking for the developer ecosystem to help out.”
It also can support Connect with Twitter, which resembles Facebook Connect, a service which lets people use their Facebook logins to leave comments or track which headlines their Facebook friends are reading on a given website.
Twitter brought on a few media partners to explain how they integrated @anywhere into their services.
Jacob Harris, a senior software architect at the New York Times, showed off some very basic work on the newspaper’s website. When you click on links to people Twitter usernames, Hovercards pop-up allowing you to follow the people referenced. Harris added that the newspaper sees one of its stories tweeted every four seconds.
MSNBC.com showed a more sophisticated integration: They use the Twitter Connect service, which allows people to log in to Twitter directly from their site. With Twitter Connect, they didn’t have to implement a technology called OAuth, which is a more complicated way of supporting Twitter logins. After logging in, you can follow Twitter accounts that MSNBC.com recommends around certain topics.
Twitter has launched the service with MSNBC.com, Advertising Age, Amazon.com, Digg, Foursquare, Gawker, Hunch, The Guardian, Meebo, Yahoo and Mashable.