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Q&A: Twitter co-founder on user-requested features

ZDNet blogger Jennifer Leggio gets in touch with Biz Stone about the popular microblogging service's recent technical projects, as well as stabilization issues and monetization plans.

A new ZDNet blogger, Jennifer Leggio, recently interviewed Biz Stone, co-founder of the popular microblogging service Twitter. Go to ZDNet for the full interview. The following is an excerpt.

Q&A with Twitter's Biz Stone Leggio: Once Twitter stabilizes, what is next on your plate?

Stone: Our first priority is reliability, and getting that nailed is no small feat. But there are a lot of new features that our users have been asking us for. We are listening.

Q. What is the most requested feature?

A. Grouping has consistently been high on the request list and is high on the list of what we are considering. We’ve been giving it thought and examining how people have been using Twitter for a while so we can best approach that feature. People have their work contacts and their friends, and they want to be able to follow and update separately.

Q. Some third-party applications, such as Summize, are providing intuitive search functionality for Twitter users. Will you look to bring in or partner with some of the third-party application developers to improve this feature?

A. I'm not sure we’re looking to bring in any third-party application features. But tied into search improvement would be more location-type stuff. We have location in the interface, and there is very simple work that can be done to allow people to better share that. We also want to connect it to individual posts. When I see a Twitter update, I look to see if it's text or Web; if text, it colors it in a different way. We want to find a way to better convey contextual information.

Q. I’ve seen some concerns pop up lately about the combination of Twitter bots, spammers, and URL redirection sites (a la TinyURL). Are you concerned about an infiltration of malicious links into the Twitter feed? Have you considered creating a way to post smaller links that allow users to preview the originating URL?

A. User security is absolutely a concern, and we’re working to make the interface safer, in that regard. We are looking into other ways to display shared links, for example noting whether a link goes to a picture or a video or some other media element. While more of a feature, this could help in addressing some of the risks with the URL redirection.

Read the rest of this interview on ZDNet. Topics include the recent outages and the possibility of Twitter becoming a paid service.