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Monday, December 10, 2012

Twitter Adds Photo Filters in Battle With Instagram

So many filters, so little time.

Twitter on Monday announced a new feature that will allow people to edit photos and apply photo filters from within Twitter-built applications.

In a blog post on the company's Web site, Coleen Baik, a senior designer at Twitter, said that sharing photos has been an important part of the Twitter experience.

“Starting today, you'll be able to edit and refine your photos, right from Twitter,” Ms. Baik wrote. “The latest versions of Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android introduce a few new ways to enhance the images you tweet.”

As I first reported last month, Twitter has been hard at work on filters for some time, hoping to allow people to bypass other photo-sharing services, like Instagram, now owned by Facebook.

Last week Instagram eliminated the ability of its users to share images directly within Twitter. The two companies, once friends, are now direct competitors.

The Twitter app will offer eight filters, which the company said would include black-and-white and a vintage look, and come with a “bird's-eye view” mode that shows in a grid view ho w a photo would change. People can also crop and enhance images from within the app.

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner, a technology research firm, said Monday's announcement was no suprise given the popularity of filters with today's smartphone-using consumers.

“Twitter is more valuable to most users than other filtering services, such as Instagram,” Mr. Gartenberg said in an e-mail. “Lack of allowing content to flow where users want it to flow means consumers will choose the service of greater value.”

One of the main reasons the company is using its own filters is because of the company's Very Important Tweeters, known internally as V.I.T.'s, who are usually celebrities and media personalities. Until now, most V.I.T.'s have taken photos with other apps, including Instagram, where they have larger followings. With the latest addition, Twitter hopes to keep those people inside its own service.

Twitter's photo filters were built by Aviary, a company that offers software to mobile and Web developers.