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Rumor: Twitter to launch photo-sharing service

twitter Twitter is about to unveil its own photo-sharing service, according to a TechCrunch report. Citing “multiple sources,” the report says the service could be up and running as early as Tuesday.

Since TechCrunch published its claim, All Things D has reported that an announcement will be made by Twitter at the D9 conference (organized, incidentally, by All Things D) in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo lined-up to speak on Wednesday.

At the moment, when Twitter users want to attach photos to their tweets, they turn to third-party services such as TwitPic and yfrog. Links to images appear in the tweets, and presumably Twitter’s own service would work in much the same way. As pointed out by All Things D, the likes of TwitPic and yfrog make money through ads displayed on the same page as the image. Up to now Twitter has been pretty good at not making money, and so this could be one way to bring in some cash. Last month there was talk of the company adding branded pages to its site as a way of creating a revenue stream.

The launch of a photo-sharing service would also be another signal of Twitter’s intent to take control of its ecosystem. In March, the company announced that app developers who create new Twitter clients that replicate Twitter functionality would be wasting their time – though this evidently didn’t stop everyone.

Last week Twitter announced on its blog that it had acquired desktop client TweetDeck for a sum thought to be in the region of $40 million. “This acquisition is an important step forward for us,” the post said. “TweetDeck provides brands, publishers, marketers and others with a powerful platform to track all the real-time conversations they care about. In order to support this important constituency, we will continue to invest in the TweetDeck that users know and love.”

As for the photo-sharing service – it looks like we’ll be hearing something about it in the next day or two.