Twitter Relaunches Web App

Twitter today announced a new version of at the company’s first-ever major press conference at its San Francisco headquarters. It is launching to some users today and will roll out to all users worldwide soon.

The new site splits Twitter’s page into two columns, each filling half the page. On the left, you see the regular old timeline of tweets. If you click on a tweet, in the right pane you can drill down on specific details such as the conversation it’s in reply to, the profile of the user who sent the tweet, and more information and tweets from the location it was tweeted from. Meanwhile, your timeline holds your place in the left pane. Twitter will also embed media in the right pane through deals with 16 photo and video hosts including TwitPic, YouTube, Vimeo and Ustream.

The site is built on a new architecture to be faster and more agile. The “more” button has been removed in favor of endless scrolling.

CEO Evan Williams called the new “a faster, easier and richer way to discover what’s new in your world” and “one of the best web apps you’ve ever seen.” He noted that has always been the most popular Twitter client, with 78 percent of active users accessing it in the last 30 days. Traffic to has grown 100 percent in the last year.

The new site is in part aimed at helping visitors who are Twitter users but not necessarily active tweeters themselves. Williams said it “reveals more information that’s under the iceberg of Twitter” by helping new users access part of the site that are somewhat “cryptic” today, for instance the user tradition of recommending people on Fridays by mentioning them in a “follow Friday” tweet. Now those mentions will be highlighted in the right pane.

Williams contended that “Twitter levels the playing field between creators of content and consumers of content more than any tool that has ever come before…You don’t have to tweet to use Twitter any more than you have to create a web page to use the web.”

Twitter overall now has more than 90 million tweets a day, 25 percent of them containing links. It gets 370,000 new signups per day, 16 percent of them initiated from a mobile. Mobile users are up 250 percent since the beginning of the year.

Further reading: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the New