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It’s all in the cards as Twitter goes for mobile app deep-linking

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Twitter has announced that a major revamp to its cards function, including much deeper app integration.

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Cards have been important to Twitter for a while. They’re what lets you see a video or summary of an article from a tweet and what Instagram removed support for last year. According to Twitter, the feature is used by more than 10 000 developers, mobile apps and websites.

The new version of cards comes with mobile app deep-linking. This means that people will be able to tap a link to either view content directly in an app, or download the app, depending on whether or not they have it installed. This feature “closes the loop between content creation, content discovery and app downloads,” says Twitter’s Jason Costa.

The social network is also adding three new types of card:

  • App: Shows information about an app, including app name, icon, description and other details like rating or price.
  • Product: Represent products by showing an image and description, along with up to two customizable fields that allow people to display more details like price or ratings.
  • Gallery: Represents an album or collection of photographs via a preview of the photo gallery. This card indicates to a user that a gallery has been shared, rather than just one individual photo.

Twitter says the new features and new types of card come with a fundamental change in the way cards are created and delivered. “The new cards system lays a foundation that will make it easier for us to develop more types of cards in the future and allow for greater customization by publishers and developers,” it says.

The new features have been implemented by a number of partners, including Delectable, Etsy, Flickr, Foursquare, Gumroad, Jawbone, Path, Rovio’s Angry Birds, SoundCloud, Storenvy, Wine Library and, of course, Vine.

While the new card features seem pretty exciting, a part of me can’t help but feel that they could potentially do harm to the overall aesthetic of Twitter in the hands of over-zealous advertisers. We can only hope that Twitter remembers that its attraction comes from its capabilities as a social network and not as an advertising platform.

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