Twitter CEO Evan Williams delivered the keynote at the SXSW festival today, and he used part of his address to unveil @anywhere, Twitter's answer to the ever-popular Facebook Connect. From the looks of it, @anywhere is essentially an integration tool: when the service launches, users will be able to access Twitter without ever leaving their favorite third-party sites.
For instance, let's say you're reading a column on NYTimes.com. You want to weigh in on the column, but you don't want to open a new window to bang out a 140-character tweet. With @anywhere, you could access your Twitter feed by dragging your mouse over an @anywhere icon, and bringing up what Williams called a "hovercard" input field.
Twitter is billing the @anywhere initiative as a natural extension of the main Twitter.com site.
"Imagine being able to follow a New York Times journalist directly from her byline, tweet about a video without leaving YouTube, and discover new Twitter accounts while visiting the Yahoo! home page – and that’s just the beginning," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote on the official company blog. "With @anywhere, web site owners and operators will be able to offer visitors more value with less heavy lifting."
According to Stone, there are a handful of launch partners for @anywhere, including Amazon, AdAge, Bing, Citysearch, Digg, eBay, The Huffington Post, Meebo, MSNBC.com, The New York Times, Salesforce.com, Yahoo!, and YouTube. No word yet on an exact launch date.
As Jason Kincaid notes over at TechCrunch, @anywhere is likely to be a boon to serious Twitter-holics, who are tired of clicking from one page to the next to post to Twitter. But the service should also have major appeal to publishers, who will "be able to more deeply integrate their own Twitter profiles, making them easier for their readers to ‘follow’ them," Kincaid writes.