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Twitter pushes content front and center with app updates

Heather Kelly, CNN
Twitter's changes are subtle but effective at pushing content to the forefront.
Twitter's changes are subtle but effective at pushing content to the forefront.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Twitter has updated its Android and iOS apps and mobile site
  • The Discover, Search and Connect sections are all streamlined
  • Content, including links, photos and videos, is easier to scan and consume
  • Clicking on a link now takes you directly to that site

(CNN) -- Twitter is revamping its iOS and Android apps as well as the mobile version of its site to condense its many pieces of information into more steamlined sections.

Mobile apps work best when they make it simple to efficiently scan and consume information, often while walking, talking or "paying attention" in meetings. These latest tweaks from Twitter make discovering interesting new information, conversations, links, articles and people easier and faster.

The best improvements can be found in the Discover tab, which now shows one rich stream of tweets and trends, activity and suggestions. Photos and videos are shown directly in the stream. If you want to cut down on the noise, you can just view Activity, which includes information like what tweets your friends are favoriting and who they're following, or Trends, which lets you dig into hot hashtags and keywords, by tapping on the sections on top of the screen.

Search results also include people, videos and photos in the results. A search for "cake" returns a carousel of photos of cakes, the top cake-themed news story and tweet, followed by a stream of tweets and accounts that talk about cake. You can start a search from anywhere in the app, thanks to a search icon that's always at the top of the screen, which is new to the iPhone app.

Under Connect, you'll find your stream of new followers, retweets and mentions. If this all-in-one stream isn't to your liking, you can head over to settings and make it so that only mentions appear.

Finally, the company has cut down on the number of steps to view a link. Now when you click on a URL, it will open that page directly instead of first opening the tweet and then making you click a link. For Instagram fans especially, this is a welcome update after Twitter dropped in-app viewing for the service's photos. You still have to open an individual tweet to click on hashtags or Twitter handles.

The changes are subtle but effective at pushing content, links, photos and videos to the forefront. With changes like this, browsing the wealth of media shared on Twitter, not just tweets from people you follow, is becoming a more central part of using the service.

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