Twitter plans 'instant timeline' feature to get visitors to log in

The company also plans more features such as improved private messaging and video uploads

Twitter plans to introduce soon an "instant timeline" feature that will allow new users to see what's happening on the site without having to first go through the time-consuming process of following accounts.

The social network will use all the signals it receives from new users when they sign up to drop them immediately into a "high-value timeline," CEO Dick Costolo told investors Wednesday.

The company also plans to add significant new functionality to its private messaging feature, with some of that set to roll out in this quarter, besides allowing users to upload and share videos on Twitter.

Converting visitors to active users by reducing barriers to consumption is a key priority for Twitter as it aims to have the "largest daily audience in the world." With features like the instant timeline, Twitter aims to have new users quickly get immersed in the application.

The company's monthly active users have grown by 52 million year-over-year to 284 million in the third quarter of this year. But there are also over 500 million unique users who visit Twitter owned and operated properties every month but don't log in, and there are many more unique monthly users who consume Twitter content in syndication and through mobile apps, Costolo said.

Promising an acceleration in the pace and breadth of product change, Costolo told investors Wednesday that the company was building a Twitter that was the best way to keep in touch and connect with the world.

The company is also working on new mobile applications, like its video-sharing app Vine, and will simplify the sign-up process, improve topic-based search, and better organize content around geography and events. It will also focus on new ways of sharing, beyond the retweet, including direct messaging of tweets, said Anthony Noto, Twitter's chief financial officer. Users will also be able to upload videos taken on their phones to Twitter.

"The public conversation all happens on Twitter," said Costolo, who was aiming to convince investors of the increased importance of the social network to the public.

Twitter has emerged as the forum where people can keep in touch with their friends' progress, participate in real-time stock market debates, follow the Super Bowl games and cheer for their team, and do a variety of other things, he added.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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