We could soon have a whole new range of visual tools for Twitter
The company has this week announced its acquisition of Chroma Labs, the team behind the Chroma Stories app, which provides a range of stylistic frames and filter options for your Stories content.
As per Chroma Labs:
"When we founded Chroma Labs in 2018, we set out to build a company to inspire creativity and help people tell their visual stories. During the past year, we’ve enabled creators and businesses around the world to create millions of stories with the Chroma Stories app. We’re proud of this work, and look forward to continuing our mission at a larger scale – with one of the most important services in the world."
To be clear, Chroma Stories is not a platform in itself, but a supplementary app which enables users to create better-looking Stories that they can then post to Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.
The company was founded by former Instagram product lead John Barnett, who, among other projects, invented Instagram's popular 'Boomerang' video looping tool. That inside knowledge has enabled Chroma to build highly effective visual additions and features, which are perfectly aligned with rising Stories use.
So what will Twitter be looking to do with the app?
As noted by Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour:
Thrilled to welcome the amazing @Chroma_Labs team including @picturejohn, @alexli, @joshuacharris to @Twitter.— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) February 18, 2020
They’ll join our product, design, and eng teams working to give people more creative ways to express themselves on Twitter ????????
What 'more creative ways to express themselves' means, exactly, is anyone's guess, but it could mean that Twitter is looking at its own variation of Stories, or that it will be adding more visual options to enhance your tweet presentation in the near future.
With respect to Twitter Stories, that could definitely be a possibility. Twitter is now one of the only platforms without a Stories option, and with its renewed focus on context, and maximizing user engagement, you would think that a Twitter Stories tool, if done right, could hold significant appeal.
Twitter's already the home for real-time updates, and a Stories feed could add to this - while it could also provide what Twitter's 'Moments' tool was never quite able to, albeit in a different way.
Moments was Twitter's mobile-focused, vertically presented, quick catch-up tool, which Twitter originally pitched as "the best of what’s happening on Twitter in an instant".
These days, Twitter's bigger push is on increasing personal relevance - so what if, instead of "the best of what's happening" across all of Twitter, you got a Stories feed instead, which would essentially be a feed of what's happening among the people and profiles that you've chosen to follow.
Twitter could even look to add the tab into the bottom function bar, replacing where Moments once was. Given the popularity of Stories on other platforms, that could work.
It's not definitively where Twitter is headed, but it makes sense that Twitter would at least look at its options on this front.
Outside of this, Twitter could be looking to simply improve on its current - somewhat limited - visual options.
As an example, last September, Twitter provided users with the capacity to rearrange their attached tweet images via a simple drag and drop process.
It’s all about the details. Now you can rearrange your photos while writing a Tweet. pic.twitter.com/mllwmPb6dx— Twitter (@Twitter) September 10, 2019
You couldn't do this before. So, on Snapchat, for comparison, you can take a photo of your face, cut out a section of it, re-paste it a million times over into the frame and create a unique collage, which you can then add filters to, morph into something different via AR tools, and upload in different formats, all within the app. In Twitter, you can now re-arrange images.
Yeah, it probably does need an upgrade on this front.
Either way, with the Chroma crew joining Twitter's Conversations division, you can expect some significant visual enhancements for your tweets, which could be a major change for the app.
It'll take some time, but it'll be interesting to see what they come up with.