After a 6 months absence from Twitter I have noticed some small but significant changes.
The biggest change is that links within tweets on the mobile app opens within the app. This is the reason there is a blue bar across the top of the screen. You are now viewing the video/photo/content via Twitter.
This blue bar may seem insignificant, and does not really effect the user, but this space provides an opportunity to potentially show adds relevant to what ever content is being viewed. The sheer scale and traffic volume generated by Twitter means if they decide to put ads that are charged to advertisers per thousand views (which is standard), it could make millions per month (or maybe week or even maybe per day ?).
Twitter is creating processes to keep user trapped in the app . So far this seems to work as it actually improves the user experience.
There is more going on behind the scenes on the technical side of things. Twitter’s has changed the rules relating to it’s API. The API is the way third party companies can use Twitter to build applications (e.g. the Twitpic photo sharing app). In addition to this, Twitter has previously purchased Tweetdeck and Posterous. This means Twitter now has it’s own in house desktop and auto posting services. If Twitter decides to remove access to other, non Twitter apps, this would remove all of the competition; increasing Twitter’s opportunity to advertise across the web, desktop and mobile.
The bottom line is that as long as users want to use Twitter, then services that have been created in protest to it’s changes, will have trouble competing.