Twitter will launch a new service tomorrow allowing users to share photos, according to industry news site TechCrunch. Using a URL shortener, Twitter users will be able to tweet a link to an uploaded photo taken via their mobile phone or off their desktop.
This is huge blow to popular third party Twitter picture sharing services Twitpic and Yfrog. Those companies have been making money by running ads along side the photos linked from Twitter feeds. Twitter is probably looking to claim that ad revenue for themselves.
Sites such as Facebook owe a good chunk of their popularity to their photo sharing feature and no doubt Twitter wants to own that part of their business as well. Helping them get started is the recent revolt by Twitpic users — after the terms of service for the site changed to allow an outside news agency to use any photo uploaded by any user.
What the URL shortener will be has not yet been determined. This function is critical for managing the text count of a 140 character tweet. Speculation by TechCrunch is that it may be Twing.com, a site owned by Twitter. But that is a good deal longer than the popular bit.ly URL shortner site.
Expect an announcement tomorrow from Twitter with more details.