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Twitter 2.0: Is the World Ready?

The hugely popular micro-blogging service Twitter is undergoing a number of big changes. But is the world, already struggling to come to terms with Twitter and its impact, ready for what will effectively become Twitter 2.0?

There are big changes afoot at Twitter after the popular micro-blogging service started rolling out a number of significant changes including location-based tweeting, sharable lists, and potential data mining deals with Google and Microsoft.

Twitter last week started rolling out its geolocation API to limited testing, enabling developers to add latitude and longitude for tweets. It also announced the coming of Lists, which lets users curate lists of Twitter accounts.

And now AllThingsDigital reported that Twitter is negotiating with Google and Microsoft to give those companies a full feed from the microblogging service to integrate into Google search and Microsoft’s Bing search.

If that happens, Twitter will surely be eating at the table with the other Internet adults.

So what does all of this mean? We are entering Twitter 2.0, which extends Twitter beyond the simple, post 140-character missive, rant or declarative sentence and into a richer realm of real-time communications.

This new world will be captivated by location-based tweeting. Tweet-level location data will bring users tweets from anyone within a certain geographic area instead of just the people Twitter users follow. “It’s easy to imagine how this might be interesting at an event like a concert or even something more dramatic like an earthquake,” Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said.

Twitter Lists will let users categorise, and therefore better organise, Twitter content. For example, users could create list of funny or important Twitter accounts, as well as those by colleagues, athletes, friends or businesses – not unlike the way we can put people in groups in Facebook and other social web services.

Other Twitter users can then subscribe to these lists, offering, as Twitter Lists project lead Nick Kallen said, “the potential to be an important new discovery mechanism for great tweets and accounts.”

As I noted, other social services let users share friend lists. Twitter is joining the social sharing party, so it is considered a big deal among people who detest, vilify and excoriate the Web 1.0 world of closed, one-to-one services.

The blogosphere doted on Twitter’s Lists news in reverential tones normally reserved for discussions about the Sistine Chapel. Hogwash. As with so many other features out there, if you have to tell readers why something is important, its importance is not obvious. Therefore, it is not that important, but I digress.