Twitter Reaches 50,000 Apps, Will Open Up Data 'Firehose' to All

The service will focus even more on its third-party app environment

The Le Web conference is now underway in Paris and hot Internet companies as well as startups are vying for the media's attention. Twitter though doesn't really need to try to hard to get headlines but it still had several big announcements to make geared especially towards developers who use the platform. With Twitter owing much of its success to third-party developers it's no surprise that the service wants to make sure they're being catered to, though this may be getting harder now that 50,000 apps have been built around the platform, as Twitter revealed.

Despite the obvious success of the API platform Twitter stresses the importance of further development of the features to ensure growth. Twitter says it will soon launch a new developers site and also extend the capabilities of the APIs already available. Ryan Sarver, Twitter's Director of Platform, shared with the audience some of the stats concerning the product.

In just two years developers have created 50,000 apps using the APIs, a number which Sarvers says is testament to the power of the platform. He also said that about 50 percent of Twitter's traffic comes from these apps, a number which has been estimated before. It's rare that a service would be so dependent and opened to third-party developers and Twitter now says it will open up even more.

In early 2010 every developer will get access to the full “firehose” feed, all the data that Twitter manages at any given time. So far only partners which have made a clear deal with Twitter, think Google and Microsoft, got full, unrestricted access to the data. Twitter didn't release too many details at the moment but developers may be charged for the feature.

Of course, a great API platform is of no real use if developers don't know how to take advantage of it so Twitter will be launching a revamped developers site full of resources like documentation, tutorials and many other tools. The site should be launched withing a few weeks.

The third announcement was that Twitter was putting even more emphasis on OAuth, the remote login technology, and will encourage developers to use it by increasing the API calls limit 10 times. Sarver also revealed that Basic OAuth will be deprecated beginning June 2010. Finally, Twitter announced that it will start hosting an official developers conference, called Chirp, in San Francisco, the company's headquarters, beginning next year.

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