As Twitter evolves into a platform where brands can reach and interact with fans, media integration is becoming increasingly more important. With that in mind, Twitter appears to be testing images that are shown automatically in timelines on desktop or laptop computers using the web version of Twitter.

The microblogging platform currently supports two-step in-stream image previews. This means that photos can be displayed in your timeline on after someone clicks anywhere inside the tweet. Now, some members have noticed automatic in-stream previews which display images without having to click.

According to screenshots, the preview isn’t all that intrusive taking up only a small portion of white space directly to the right of the tweet. As testing continues, it’s possible that the thumbnail image could be replaced with something larger. After all, Facebook has regularly increased the size of photos in its News Feed.

It seems that — at least initially — this functionality is limited to images in your own tweets rather than affecting the timeline of tweets from those you follow. So if you’re scrolling through your stream in hopes of seeing everyone’s images automatically displayed, you’re out of luck for now. Currently only a select number of Twitter users have noticed automated previews, so you might not see any difference at all.

Twitter likely wants to explore the feature and test it carefully before rolling it out to a wider audience. One one hand, it could really impact engagement and advertising on the platform. On the other, Twitter is known for brevity and automatically inserting images into timelines could result in adverse reactions.

[Via: The Next Web, Image credit: njhdiver]