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Twitter (TWTR) Launches Prototype App to Test New Features

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Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) is about to make significant changes to its platform. However, before rolling out the changes across its wide user base, the company will test the same on its newly-launched prototype application, “twttr”, available to select users.

Notably, the beta app is aimed at receiving user feedback. The selected users will only include English and Japanese speakers using an iOS device.

To be part of the testing app, users have to open a link provided by the company on their recent tweet. They will then be redirected to a new page for a survey. The survey tests the user’s eligibility to be part of the beta app. On clearing the eligibility criteria, the user can download the twttr app and test the features.

Unlike other beta programs, where testers are under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), Twitter’s testers have the liberty to discuss what they’re seeing on the beta app on Twitter itself, using the hashtag #LetsHaveAConvo.

Twitter, Inc. Price and Consensus

Twitter, Inc. Price and Consensus | Twitter, Inc. Quote

The Rationale Behind a Beta App

To lure users, social media giants keep coming up with new features. This helps in attracting advertisers, thereby driving top-line growth. But often new updates or features backfire and cause the user base to dwindle.

For Snap (SNAP - Free Report) , the company’s daily active users (DAU) decreased nearly 2 million sequentially to 186 million in third-quarter 2018. This decline was attributed to lower usage of the Snapchat application following the redesign of the app.

Additionally, Facebook’s (FB - Free Report) WhatsApp had scrapped the status feature from its platform in 2017 and replaced it with Stories. However, after facing backlash from its users, the company had to reintroduce this classic feature.

Twitter is already struggling due to a dwindling user base. Notably, in the last reported quarter, the company’s average monthly active users (MAUs) totaled 321 million, down from 330 million in the year-ago quarter.  

We believe with the help of a beta app, Twitter can be aware of how early testers are responding to the new features and accordingly make changes before its release on Twitter’s platform.

What are the New Updates?

Twitter’s new update is aimed at improving the design of a conversation and make the application more interactive.

The company is rolling out color-coded replies, which help to differentiate between replies from the user who posts the tweet and other Twitter users and makes its convenient for others.

Further, the replies to a tweet will be in the shape of a bubble and will be indented. Notably, the colored bubbles will indicate the source of each reply – blue for the user who writes the original post, green for the users the account follows and white for others.

Twitter is also hiding options like retweet, favorites and share to improve the clarity of the conversation and make it easier for people to read longer threads.

Zacks Rank & Stock to Consider

Currently, Twitter carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A better-ranked stock in the broader computer technology sector is Symantec Corporation (SYMC - Free Report) , currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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