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Summary:

The Twitter app on Android got a major facelift today, making the app not only nicer to look at but more powerful to use for experienced hands and more inviting for newcomers. Twitter 2.0 shows a lot of thoughtful upgrades that integrate tightly with Android and help users leverage location.

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The Twitter app for Android got a major facelift today, making the software not only nicer to look at, but both more powerful to use for experienced hands and more inviting for newcomers. Twitter 2.0 brings several thoughtful upgrades that integrate tightly with Android and help users leverage the power of location.

We took a look at the last update in November but this new version goes a good deal further and brings the app more in line with its third-party peers on both Android and Apple’s iPhone. Gone is the navigation menu that housed many of the options. Now, users go straight to the timeline, while @mentions, messages and lists are offered as tabs along the top. That alone is a nice improvement that streamlines the overall feel of the app and removes a step between many functions.

An improved search function now allows users to search not only for a term on Twitter, but also for tweets from nearby users. The search function also allows users to find people who match the search term. Trending data is now accessed by conducting a search, similar to the iPhone version.

The overall process of Tweeting is now easier with a more spacious layout, auto-complete for names and the ability to scroll through a list of friends for @mentions. Users can include their location data on an update with a button press. It’s also easy to upload existing pictures from a gallery or shoot new pictures from directly within the Twitter app.

The new app also integrates better and deeper with Android. Users can search their contacts to find friends on Twitter, something the app suggests right off the bat. There are nice blue dot reminders that appear on the icons to alert you to new stuff. Users are also able to sign up for Twitter right through the app. And if they don’t want to, they can still use Twitter now without signing in at all.

Twitter is also offering suggestions now on who you should follow based on categories and allows you to see Tweets from their suggested users. It seems like Twitter was intent on making sure that someone can jump right into the Twitter experience without much initiation. It makes sense, because Twitter usage in the last two months has doubled on Android and the app is now among the top five, the company said in a blog post.

With improvements like this, we’re seeing another big app maker show that it’s taking Android more seriously, which makes sense considering all the sales momentum the platform has had. Though there will be a lot of apps that still lead on iPhone, the gap between many apps on both platforms, where they exist, may be diminishing more and more.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d):

  1. As a power Twitter user, I can say that it lacks some fundamental usability “must-have” features, something missing in the previous version and still missing in this one. An example?

    Think of this: you leave a room, then you decide to enter that room again and… you realize it’s another room, not the same you left before. Not good, right?

    Well, in the new Twitter for Android if you decide to browse one of your lists (I do that very often) then you reply to someone… magic! You are suddenly pushed back to your home timeline… so you must find that list again and try to figure out where you stopped reading before replying to that user.

    This is just an example, there are other similar usability issues, clearly solved by other clients for Android.

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  2. [...] week also saw updates of current Android apps and announcements of new ones. Twitter for Android received an overhaul this week: the new version makes it easier to search for friends and trends while also refreshing the user [...]

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