Fewer and fewer people are using the Web interface at Twitter.com to send tweets or read those of their followers. Most people use one of the 250,000 applications built using the Twitter API like Tweetdeck and Seesmic, or mobile-based apps like Twitter for iPhone or Foursquare.
Twitter recently announced a couple of changes, one being to the authorization rules for these applications. Starting August 31, all applications will be required to use “OAuth” to access your Twitter account. This is a technology that enables applications to access Twitter on your behalf with your approval without asking directly for your password.
So what does this mean for you? It means these applications are no longer allowed to store your password. Therefore, some applications you’ve already been using may require you to reauthorize them or may stop functioning altogether. To see a list of the applications you’ve authorized, visit twitter.com/settings/connections.
In addition, Twitter will continue to roll out its link-wrapping service in the coming weeks, t.co. This service wraps links in tweets with a new, simplified link, and are designed with the domain and part of the URL showing so that you know what you’re clicking on. In other words, these “wrapped links” will instantaneously be vetted by Twitter and will protect you from going to a site that’s known to contain malware. Twitter gave this example:
A really long link such as http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048 might be wrapped as http://t.co/DRo0trj for display on SMS, but it could be displayed to Web or application users as amazon.com/Delivering- or as the whole URL or page title.
This service is expected to be available to all users by the end of this year.
Both updates definitely appear to show Twitter’s dedication to protecting the privacy and well-being of its users, which is a welcome change from the constant hullabaloo Facebook causes related to sharing information about the people that use its site.