comscore Twitter worked on a standalone messaging app, but it never saw the light of day
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Twitter worked on a standalone messaging app, but it never saw the light of day

Reportedly, the engineering team of Twitter in India worked on a standalone app for a year, but it was forced to shut it due to poor feedback.

twitter-stock-photo

Twitter is going through a tough phase. While it is struggling with declining revenues, the company now looks to restructure itself, and has already confirmed to lay off 9 percent of its workforce. Its rival Facebook, on the other hand, has now claimed supremacy in the social networking segment, and even in instant messaging by acquiring WhatsApp and developing Facebook Messenger into a standalone platform. Twitter of late did try to come close to Facebook by borrowing some of the latter’s features. Twitter reportedly even tried to take on Facebook Messenger with its own standalone messaging app, but ended up killing it even before it saw the light of day. Also Read - COVID-19 third wave: Twitter shuts offices as coronavirus cases rise

Also Read - Twitter Voice Tweets rolling out for iOS: What are they, how to send

According to Buzzfeed News, Twitter s Indian engineering team in Bengaluru were working on a standalone messaging app, which blended tweets and instant messages in a single interface. However, after Twitter shutdown the India engineering center in September, the project on the messaging app was also scrapped abruptly. The publication was also told that Twitter intended to identify influencers around certain topics let s say news or politics or sports and encourage them to create groups of interest within the app. Also Read - World Emoji Day 2021: Twitter reveals 10 most used emojis in 2021 in India

Essentially, how the Slack messaging app works, in the Twitter messaging app people could not only use chat among themselves in these groups, users could also subscribe to Twitter accounts they like, whose tweets would be pulled in automatically into these groups.

The basic concern of Twitter with this app was to get more people on board with the app. The company was basically attempting to introduce Twitter to people who do not use it, through this instant messaging app, without actually taking them to the Twitter website. ALSO READ: You can now broadcast live videos straight from the Twitter app; here s how it works

Twitter didn t have that many active users in India, one source who worked on the app s development told BuzzFeed News. So the idea was that if enough people used the instant messaging app, we could expose a lot of people to tweets without them even going to Twitter in the first place. Eventually, we hoped they would see the value of signing up for Twitter and directly following as many people as they wanted.

Look, as a product, Twitter isn t easy to figure out for most people, said another source who directly worked on the app and said that none of his peers on Twitter s engineering team in India were active Twitter users before they joined the company. Everyone around us was hooked to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and I think internally, there was some concern about how much people were engaging with those platforms versus ours. So instant messaging seemed like a natural choice to build something around. ALSO READ: Who is Legion that hacked into Vijay Mallya, Rahul Gandhi s Twitter accounts?

However, the real reason why the app was shut was due to poor response. Apparently they ran an anonymous test of the app among a bunch of college students, and received a very poor response. The app was shelved in September after more than a year of development. About three weeks later, calling it a normal business review , Twitter laid off its entire Bengaluru staff of 20 including nine software engineers. It also shut down its India engineering center, which was born out of the company s $30 million acquisition of Indian startup ZipDial in January 2015.

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  • Published Date: December 15, 2016 1:03 PM IST



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