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Thursday, April 15 12:00 AM ET

Twitter CEO Ev Williams Announces New Features at Chirp Conference

By Brian Briggs follow me on Twitter or Buzz.

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San Francisco, CA - Yesterday during his keynote at Chirp, the official Twitter developer conference, Twitter CEO Ev Williams gave developers a preview of upcoming features of the service.

The upcoming Twitter CAPTCHA system

The first new feature revealed was a new CAPTCHA system to battle "Twitter-bots" from flooding the system with spam. A CAPTCHA is a simple test to determine if a user is human or computer. Williams explained, "We will require new users to validate themselves on the Twitter site, for the first 100 actions they take, be it following someone, or sending out a Tweet. This should be a barrier to entry that most spammers will not want to endure." Williams said that if successful the CAPTCHA system may be applied to all users, and that the API to the system will be released soon.

The next challenge on the list was to make the Twitter service a more family friendly destination. "We have all ages on the service, and we want to make it appropriate for everyone. We're not going to limit anyone's speech, but we do want to give parents the tools they need," said Williams.

Twitter will be algorithmically piping questionable tweets to the "Council of Twelders" who will then rate the tweets on age appropriateness using the MPAA rating scale of G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17. This metadata will then be made available through an API, so Twitter clients can be set up to filter tweets based on these ratings if desired.

Expanding their openness to other social networks, each tweet will now be accompanied with links to share the Tweet on other social sites like Reddit, Digg, Facebook etc. "By joining Twitter, our users have showed a willingness to share. They've asked for more ways to share tweets they find appealing. With our new sharing tools, it won't be long until you start seeing popular tweets on the front page of Digg," said Williams.

Finally, a change that will be welcome by adult Twitterers: segmenting trending topics by age. "If you enter your age as say 30 years old, you'll no longer see Justin Bieber as a trending topic," said Williams. "You'll see things more attuned to your age group like #premiumbeers or #reospeedwagon."

Overall, the developers we talked to were excited about the changes, and they looked forward to Twitter buying them in the future.


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