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Twitter overhaul brings the site one step closer to Facebook

Twitter gets a dynamic new two-pane design.

By Matthew Shaer / September 15, 2010

Twitter gets its first major overhaul – and its a doozy.

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Twitter, the insanely popular social network launched in 2006, is getting its first major overhaul in some time, and it's a doozy. The sweeping changes announced yesterday at an event at Twitter HQ in California include a double-pane design – one pane shows the standard stream of incoming tweets and the other a swath of recommended and multimedia content – improved embedded media functionality, and easily accessible user "mini-profiles."

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Of these updates, the two-pane design is the most immediately noticeable. (More in the video below.) But Twitter reps are putting especial stress on the multimedia content – Twitter has apparently signed deals with 16 multimedia sites, including Flickr – and the mini-profiles, which allow users to more easily interact with their fellow tweeters.

“It’s going to increase the value that people are getting out of Twitter, so in less time you can get more information and value,” Twitter co-founder Evan Williams told The New York Times yesterday.

Over at PC Mag, Lance Ulanoff notes that plenty of users are worried that the redesign could make Twitter too much like Facebook. But Ulanoff is not concerned. "Personally, I like to think of Twitter and Facebook separately. Facebook is still a more managed and contained environment where I communicate with friends and relatives. Twitter is my news feed (both in and out)," he writes.

Last month, Twitter introduced a new feature – dubbed the "Tweet Button" – which will allow users to link to content on external sites with a single click of the mouse. "The Tweet Button is not only simple for users, but for publishers of all sizes, too," Twitter reps wrote at the time. The Tweet Button, of course, also brings Twitter up to speed with Facebook, which launched a similar functionality earlier this year.

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