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Twitter update adds content previews, frustrating wait for rollout begins

We love Twitter, but we aren't so keen on the wait for it to roll out new features to all users. Even so, this latest update adds content previews and related tweets and we can't wait to get it.

A new look for the Twitter website will arrive over the next few weeks, the micro-blogging site has today announced, and we're very excited by the idea of instant previews of things your friends link to.

The latest Twevolution -- sorry, these stupid names are mandatory in Twitter stories -- is a much more dynamic website, with much better use of your browser real estate. Essentially, the screen is divided into two panels. On the left, your Twitter feed is displayed, as before. On the right is a preview pane, with extra information about the 'current' tweet -- the one you select.

Services such as YouTube, Flickr and Twitpic will be integrated, which means that when someone links to something in a tweet, you'll be able to preview the video or photo in the right-hand panel. This all looks very slick, and the page is the most dynamic we've seen for a while.

The site will also be able to suggest related content to you, via the new panel. So if someone tweets a hashtag, you'll be able to see other tweets that use the same tag. If there's no tag, Twitter may just show you other tweets from the same user.

We can't help but feel the increasingly bloated Adobe Air Twitter clients are going to get a run for their money. We've always hated the way TweetDeck manages to chew through more than 100MB of RAM, but the UI made it worthwhile. Perhaps now we can reconsider that, and move back to using a browser.

The problem is, Twitter is the king of hype, trailing only Apple and Google in its ability to drive users utterly mad by announcing a new set of features, then ponderously rolling them out over the course of what feels like millennia. 

For many people, the new features won't appear for several days, or maybe even weeks. This will cause outrage, panic and in some cases, people might turn on each other and start eating them. Be patient though -- cannibalism won't speed the process up, and a week or two isn't too long to wait, is it?

There's a two-minute video below that Twitter posted to its blog. The first minute is by far the most pointless 60 seconds we've wasted in recent months, but the rest does show how the new layout will work far better than we can in words. When you've watched that, let us know if you've seen the new features and what you think.