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Twitter begins rolling out new photo service, improved search

Twitter is built around the idea of sending short messages of no more than 140 characters. With the unveiling of its new photo service, some will argue that limit has been extended to a thousand words.

Rumors surfaced just a couple of days ago regarding the micro-blogging site’s intention to unveil its own photo service, and this was officially confirmed on Wednesday. Announced simultaneously at the D9 conference in California and in a post on the Twitter blog, the company said it will be rolling out the new service over the next few weeks. The feature will enable people to use the official Twitter client, as opposed to third-party clients such as TwitPic and yfrog, to post photos. The company also announced that it is overhauling its search system.

The new photo service is the result of a deal with picture hosting website Photobucket. The service will shortly be available to users of Twitter’s mobile apps, and the company said it is working with mobile carriers around the world to make it possible for pictures to also be sent by text message (MMS).

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that, according to an e-mail written by Twitter spokesperson Jodi Olsen, the micro-blogging service will continue to support the likes of third-party services such as TwitPic and yfrog, though their continued success will now depend on the loyalty of users.

As for the new search system, Twitter claims it will “deliver more relevant Tweets when you search for something or click on a trending topic [and] also show you related photos and videos, right there on the results page.”

Twitter launched in 2006 and since then has attracted around 200 million users. The release of its new photo feature sees the company continuing to move services in-house, something that will appeal to advertisers if and when Twitter turns to them in a bid to monetize its business.