Here's how Twitter breaks down the new features:
- New design
@mentions, retweets, searches, and lists are moving to be just above your timeline – creating a single, streamlined view on the left of the screen. On the right, are the features you’re familiar with, including whom you recently followed and who recently followed you, favorites, and Trending Topics.
- View photos, videos, and other media content
You can see embedded photos and videos directly on Twitter, due to partnerships with Dailybooth, DeviantArt, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, Twitvid, USTREAM, Vimeo, Yfrog, and YouTube.
- Discover related content
When you click a Tweet, the details pane shows additional information related to the author or subject. Depending on the Tweet’s content, you may see: @replies, other Tweets by that same user, a map of where a geotagged Tweet was sent from, and more.
- Mini profiles
You can click a @username to see a mini profile without navigating from the page, which provides quick access to account information, including bio and recent Tweets.
There's also a good Forrester article that explains it well.
But the thing is back in April Twitter revealed 75% of it's traffic came from API calls. That's traffic not going through Twitter.com. So it calls into question why invest on making changes to the web browser site if most of the use of Twitter is via API calls?
On September 2nd, just before the Twitter redesign news broke (Sept 2nd), Ev Williams, Twitter CEO, wanted to make it clear that (as venturebeat.com puts it) "after Twitter introduced its own iPhone and BlackBerry apps, on top of its own website, SMS, and mobile Web versions, it now controls the top five most popular ways people access Twitter. No third-party app amounts to more than 4 percent of Twitter’s audience — and the most popular of those is TwitPic, a photo-sharing service." In a graph provided by Williams, it shows that 78% of users went through the web browser. So does that mean that there has been a massive increase in users accessing Twitter via the web vs. mobile or 3rd party apps? He even begins this paragraph with "Our Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for BlackBerry clients are now two of the most popular ways to use Twitter." But the numbers don't seem to back that up.
So what's the truth here? Because honestly, I'm confused.
Perhaps it's all spin in Twitter's new efforts to try to maximize and take back their property, which became popular and grew to what it is today through a very open API that allowed developers to get creative and give Tweeters a myriad of ways to use Twitter. Perhaps it all comes down to trying to find ways to monetize Twitter...and the social web.