Twitter exec: Mentions of 'Boston' rose 200X following explosions


NEW YORK--Mentions of the word "Boston" rose 200 times the normal rate following the explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday, according to Michael Sippey, vice president of consumer products at Twitter.

Sippey, speaking here at AllThingsD's D: Dive Into Mobile conference, noted that "our CEO, Dick Costolo has said, when events happen in the world, they also happen on Twitter." He also noted that mentions of the word "help" also spiked.

Sippey did not discuss how mobile Twitter clients were used in the Boston incident, but he made clear that Twitter thinks of mobile first. "'Product' at Twitter means 'mobile' at Twitter," he said. "It's all I think about and it's all the team I work with thinks about." Sippey noted that the  majority of usage on Twitter comes from mobile devices.

The Twitter executive was asked about Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Home launcher for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and whether Twitter would do something similar by building a "super app" to be the dominant experience on a smartphone or tablet. Sippey demurred.

"There are a lot of things we're looking at on Android and across all of our apps to make it really easy to discover Tweets," he said. "I think what they did is a really interesting product and we'll see where it goes."

Sippey also touched briefly on reports that Twitter is poised to roll out a standalone music application leveraging technologies acquired with music discovery service We Are Hunted. AllThingsD reported the new Twitter Music app will suggest tracks and artists to consumers based on data influencers including other Twitter accounts they follow. Sippey said a music application would be somewhat related to twitter's Vine video sharing service. (Vine enables iOS device owners to film and share videos running no longer than six seconds; users can film clips in a single take or pause the recording to string together montages of brief shots.)

"They have built an incredible app," Sippey said of We Are Hunted. "This is a purpose-built application that is a single tool that solves a simple problem."

Twitter recently launched updated versions of its flagship apps for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, promising users more streamlined access to content. Both the iPhone and Android apps now present all content in the Discover tab--Tweets, Activity, Trends and suggestions of accounts to follow--in a single stream. The tab also features new Activity and Trends previews. Search results are also presented in a single stream combining a more relevant mix of Tweets, photos and accounts; in addition, Twitter for iPhone added a new search button (a magnifying glass icon next to the "compose" button) previously integrated into the Android and iPad apps.

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