Twitter Places lets people add a specific location to tweets, see who else is tweeting from that spot, and tap into locations from Foursquare and Gowalla.
Lance WhitneyContributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
The new Twitter Places feature lets people tweet their specific location by name--whether it's the neighborhood tavern or the World Cup stadium in South Africa.
Unveiled Monday and launching in 65 countries over the next week, Twitter Places is the company's latest enhancement to its location-based tweeting service. People can now tag tweets with a specific location already stored in Twitter's database, add a new place, and see who else is tweeting from a specific area.
Tweeting location isn't a new concept for Twitter. The company's geotagging feature, which launched last year, lets people include their general address based on latitude and longitude.
But the goal behind Twitter Places, according to the company, is to let people associate a specific, recognizable name with their current location and not just a street address. The debut of Twitter Places is the result of changes to the geo API that Twitter had reportedly announced to developers in February.
To launch the new feature, Twitter has teamed up with a couple of popular location-based social-network rivals. In its official blog, Twitter said that it worked closely with Foursquare and Gowalla to let people associate a Twitter place with tweets generated by those two services. So if someone clicks on a Twitter place, the person will see a list of standard tweets as well as check-ins from Foursquare and Gowalla.
To use Twitter Places, the option to add a location to tweets must be turned on. To do so, go to one's Twitter page and click on the Settings link. Under the Account tab, there will be the "Add a location to your tweets" option next to "Tweet Location." Simply click on the box to enable it.
When posting the next tweet, there will be a link under the tweet box to add location. Click on that link. The browser should ask for permission to share location and then display the person's current city. To zero in on an exact place, click on the down arrow next to the location. There will be a list of local stores, restaurants, and other places. If one of them is a match, click on it to add to to the tweet. If not, search for more places or add a new place.
Twitter Places can also be turned off by clicking on the X next to location. Finally, names of specific places in Twitter can be searched to see who's there.
The new feature works in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple's Safari. I tried it in each of the four browsers. Only IE gave me problems: flashing a message that it was unable to associate my coordinates with a place and asking me to try again later.
As Twitter Places travels around the world this week, Twitter advises people to keep an eye out for the "Add your location" link below the tweet box. The company said it's also working to launch Twitter Places in its apps for mobile devices, including the iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry phones.