Twitter Launches Real-time Homepage

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Twitter has redesigned its front door to better reflects the stream-like nature of the site

Twitter has began surfacing tweets on its homepage in real-time, a redesign of its front door that better reflects the frenetic pace of information sharing on the microblogging site.

When prospective users or existing users who are signed out visit, they will see a live ticker-type scroll of trending topics on Twitter. Users can mouse their cursor over some of these trends to see a description explaining why the keyword is popular on the site at that moment.

For example, hovering over the name Justin Bieber Tuesday night popped up this message: “The young Canadian R&B/pop singer has a lot of fans who like to tweet about him! He released a music video for Never Let You Go today (March 30).”

The left rail under the topics features a random sampling of suggested Twitter users. Users can hover over these pictures to see a profile summary and the user’s latest tweet. Users can click on the users’ profiles to learn more about the people and follow them. Suggested Twitter users included TV personalities Kim Kardashian and Barbara Walters and entrepreneur Carly Fiorina.

The real magic of these changes occurs in the middle rail, where Twitter offers a stream of TopTweets that update with fresh content every few seconds. This stream, whose complete account users can access here, hits at the core of the real-time data flow that keeps millions Twitter users regularly tweeting.

It’s also a potential gold mine for marketers and retailers looking to sell products. Dell, Pepsi and several other companies have successfully promoted products on Twitter to makes millions of dollars.

The new homepage is a marked departure from the previous homepage, which users can see on Mashable here. Twitter launched this homepage last July to make search and trending topics more visible and easily accessible to everyone. Prior to that change, the homepage was a barren landing page with no search bar. However, even the improved homepage was rather bland and static.

Twitter Creative Director Doug Bowman said the new design “bubbles up more of the information flowing through Twitter”. This is an important value proposition to push across as Twitter seeks to attract new users.

“With so much being shared, we know that there’s something of value for everyone,” Bowman explained. “People who internalize the value of Twitter understand the power of this simple medium. But it hasn’t been easy to make that value transparent or obvious for curious folks coming to Twitter for the first time.”

Bowman said Twitter wasn’t done making changes. He said his team will “try new ideas that help users more easily discover who and what they can find on Twitter, and how they can personalise and filter the stream of rapidly flowing information.”

Twitter’s changes, which readers can read more about on TechMeme here, come three weeks before the startup’s first developer conference and just a few weeks after the company launched its vaunted geolocation service.

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