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Twitter turns to developers as it hits a million apps

Twitter records its millionth registered third-party app, up from 150,000 a year ago, and revamps its developers portal to try to keep the trend going.


Twitter announced today that it has reached the 1 million apps milestone. Quick, how many of them can you name?

Okay, so maybe a more serious question is, how many Twitter apps do you use? And this milestone raises other questions, like how many of these 1 million apps still exist? And perhaps most importantly, will the installed base of third-party apps help Twitter hold its own in the face of Google+?

Twitter's announcement follows a flurry of activity in the social media space, highlighted by the Google+ launch, the sale of Myspace, and Facebook's addition of Skype-powered video calling.

The Twitter announcement gives the impression of a vibrant and fast-growing developer community. The company said the 1 million registered applications were built by more than 750,000 developers. The number of apps is up from 150,000 a year ago, and a new app is registered every 1.5 seconds.

There's no question that third-party apps are indispensable for making Twitter's vast datastream, aka the firehose, useful. Some apps, like TwitPic, Tweetmeme, and Topsy are practically inseparable from the Twitter experience. Check out Oneforty's list of the top 100 Twitter apps.

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Twitter also announced today that it has revamped its developers portal. The move comes at a time when Twitter's relationship with its developer community is less than cozy, particularly as the company attempts to do more in-house in its ongoing quest for a revenue mother lode to tap into.

The revamped portal adds a discussions section and blog, and offers improved documentation, search and app manager tool.

So, what's your favorite Twitter app? And what app do you want these new developers to make?