Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Nearly Half of Tweets Originate From Mobile, Says Twitter Engineering Head

Twitter, which got its start as a mobile service over text messages, is increasingly headed back to its mobile roots.

These days, 45 percent of Twitter’s 230 million tweets per day originate from mobile devices, according to Michael Abbott, Twitter’s VP of engineering.

And SMS, Twitter’s original platform, continues to contribute. Twitter users send and receive four billion texts per day, Abbott said, speaking at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference in San Francisco.

Twitter’s fortunes are likely to get even more mobile as both Windows Phone and Apple’s latest version of iOS build Twitter directly into the operating system.

Abbott said he hopes Twitter will become more competitive with Facebook’s dominant role in authenticating apps. “I think it would be a good thing for the Web,” Abbott said.

As Facebook adds features, Twitter’s approach will be to narrow and unify its user experience, Abbott said, echoing his boss Dick Costolo’s recent public statements about Twitter simplicity.

Abbott, who led webOS development at Palm, was also pressed to talk about the soap opera around HP. Abbott declined to muse on who might buy the operating system from Hewlett Packard.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “The landscape is changing so dramatically.”

But he said he thinks webOS innovations around notifications and multitasking will continue to impact the mobile world.

As for which mobile platform he sees as the No. 3 player behind iOS and Android, Abbott declined to name another operating system, saying he would go with the mobile Web as the next most important platform.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik