Twitter may soon tell you what's going on nearby, right now
A report from AllThingsD suggests that Twitter is developing tools that will let users see what's going on nearby in real-time.
If you've ever wondered what people near you are tweeting about in real-time and thought that might help you find cool things going on nearby, Twitter may soon offer exactly that feature.
According to AllThingsD, Twitter may well be working on new features that would show tweets from people near you.
"Twitter is in the process of testing a new feature that lets you discover tweets from people within a certain distance of your location," AllThingsD said it had been told by multiple sources. "The idea is to surface relevant activity based on where you are in the world, serving up tweets from others around you -- whether you follow them or not."
Such a feature would make a lot of sense, given how many people use Twitter, and how embedded the social network has become in society as a way of reporting news, praising good food, complaining about bad service, and so much more. And given that so many people are tweeting from smartphones and other devices that can add geographical data to tweets, there's every reason to imagine that such a feature is both possible, and likely.
Plus, Twitter has recently been ramping up its discovery tools. It has just released Twitter, a stand-alone app designed to help people find new music to listen to.
Twitter has long tried to drive interest in global events like elections, the Oscars, the Super Bowl, and so forth, but it hasn't made discovering what's going on nearby very easy. The question is how such information would be delivered: in a user's timeline, in a new tab in its apps, or as part of the existing Discovery tab?
Twitter did not immediately respond to a CNET request for comment. We will update this story if we get a response.
So how would such a feature work? As AllthingsD put it:
The type of tweets you'd see, ideally, are the most relevant ones nearby, especially when they follow a trend or a flurry of closely connected activity. So a football game or a concert, for instance, may be a great use case here.
Or perhaps even more importantly, it could be used in completely unplanned, spontaneous instances.
Here's an example, and a real kicker: I've been told that a few employees were testing the new feature in Boston last week, around the time that the brothers Tsarnaev allegedly carried out a series of horrific bombings during the city's annual marathon.
More to the point, such a new feature would have to be aimed at increasing Twitter's appeal to mainstream users. Though it has more than 200 million users, AllThingsD points out, that user base pales in comparison to that of Facebook's billion-plus. Twitter needs to balance the needs and desires of its longtime users with the reality of what it would take to expand its user base to Facebook-like numbers.
With something like this new feature, if it turns out to be true, Twitter would have one more tool to try to attract the kind of users who have until now stayed away.